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Army recruiter
reassigned after sending homophobic, racist e-mails

Army recruiter
reassigned after sending homophobic, racist e-mails

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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.

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 the foxhole."

The 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.

"Now they're 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."

Read the original e-mail exchange between Powell and Ramode at www.sldn.org. (The Advocate)

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