A group of LGBT
former students and graduates of the U.S. Naval
Academy in Annapolis, Md., is asking the school's alumni
association to implement an antidiscrimination policy
for its members, saying the organization is hostile
toward gays and lesbians.
Members of USNA Out (United States Naval Academy
Out)--an unaccredited group of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender former Naval Academy
students--sent a letter to the national alumni
association's board of directors on October 25 in a
second attempt to make the group more gay-inclusive.
"We weren't welcomed in the military, and now as
civilians we aren't welcomed either," said Jeff
Petrie, a gay 1989 graduate who founded USNA Out in
2003 and now serves as its president.
The group's first effort at having the
association adopt a discrimination-free policy was
rejected by the group's board earlier this year.
The alumni board will gather this Thursday at
the Naval Academy for one of its semiannual meetings.
Petrie said he will be present at the meeting, where
debate is not allowed and attendance is limited to Naval
Academy alumni, hoping his presence will change board
members' minds and in effect make the group more
"It's 'don't ask,
don't tell,' right? We're civilians now--we can tell
all we want," he said.
inception, USNA Out has tried to get the alumni association
to recognize it as an official chapter, Petrie said.
Naval Academy alumni association president and CEO
George Watt Jr. told USNA Out that creating a separate
gay chapter was "unnecessary" and would "isolate gay
graduates from the alumni at large." Petrie said part of
Watt's argument against USNA Out was that he didn't
want to create a "special-category chapter." However,
the alumni association recognizes one chapter devoted
to former Naval Academy students who are enthusiasts
of recreational vehicles, Petrie said. "If they can have
an R.V. chapter, they sure should be able to have a gay and
lesbian chapter," Petrie added.
Petrie, there are 96 chapters of the Naval Academy Alumni
Association worldwide, and the gay chapter has been the only
chapter request denied. (Neal Broverman, Advocate.com)