Dorothy Holman, mother of Allen Schindler, a naval officer who was murdered in 1992 because he was gay, appeared before the Naval Parole Board in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to speak out against her son's killer, according to a press release from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy organization for gays in the military. The board is currently considering whether to grant parole for Schindler's murderer, Terry Helvey, who is incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Schindler was murdered in 1992 by fellow shipmates because of his sexual orientation. His body was so badly beaten that Holman could identify her son only by a tattoo on his arm. The murder, which took place shortly before the 1992 presidential elections, began a national dialogue on gays in the military and was a catalyst for then-candidate Bill Clinton's promise to lift the ban on lesbian and gay service members.
During the 10 years since Schindler's murder, Holman, in partnership with SLDN, has collected more than 75,000 petition signatures urging the Navy to not grant Helvey undue leniency. Holman was scheduled to present the signatures to the parole board at Wednesday's hearing.
"Dorothy's work has not only been in Allen's memory," said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn, "but has also brought attention to the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered service members. She is a tireless advocate for our men and women in uniform."
A decision is not expected from the parole board until mid December.