After taunting a
civilian in a volley of homophobic and racist e-mails,
Army sergeant Marcia Ramode is being reassigned and stripped
of her recruiting duties.
In March, Ramode
contacted Corey Powell, an African-American gay man who
had posted his resume on CareerBuilder.com. Andrew
responded that he was a gay man, asking if that would
be a problem for the United States armed forces. The
e-mail exchange escalated, with Ramode at one point
telling Andrew "to go back to Africa and do your gay
voodoo limbo tango and wango dance and jump around and
prance and run all over the place half-naked there and
practice your gay morals over there." Ramode also
wrote, "Being gay is disgusting and immoral."
"I wasn't trying
to be a provocateur," says Powell via phone. "I was
given the opportunity to address an official of the U.S.
military that directly affects my lifestyle. If she could
come back in all capital letters with 'YOU'RE
DISQUALIFIED,' then she should be able to tell me why.
And representing the military, she gave me an answer:
We're disgusting, immoral, and we might kiss other boys in
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group that
represents gay and lesbian service personnel, came to
Powell's defense and pushed for the Army to punish
Ramode. S. Douglas Smith, public affairs officer for
the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, sent SLDN
an e-mail Thursday saying that Ramode has "been
suspended from recruiting duties" and "has been
reassigned from Army Recruiting Command to a duty
position elsewhere in the Army." According to SLDN,
Smith wouldn't comment further on Ramode's punishment,
citing Privacy Act restrictions. Potential punishment
may have included anything from a verbal warning to a
decrease in pay or rank.
making her whereabouts covert," says Powell. "Some act
to prevent us knowing where she is, which they probably
invented this morning. I'm really disappointed [in the
decision to reassign Ramode]. I wasn't out for blood.
But for the 11,000 servicemen who have lost their jobs
for nothing besides being themselves, this is an
injustice. She should be forced to find a way to take care
of herself the same way they had to."
original e-mail exchange between Powell and Ramode
at www.sldn.org. (The