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Angelica Ross Shared How She Was a Victim of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Veterans Day

Angelica Ross Don't Ask Don't Tell
Image: 2022 Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

The actress, activist, and founder took to social media to point out the ongoing damage the military policy still inflicts.


American Horror Story and Pose actress Angelica Ross took to social media on Veterans Day Saturday to discuss how she was "terrorized" by the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that discharged servicemembers for being LGBTQ+.

"I will get my discharge restored to honorable next year. I heard they are finally addressing the way 'Don’t Ask, Don't Tell' terrorized many of us who were willing and able to serve our country," Ross wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter on Saturday. "Still I am Veteran and salute everyone who has served! Happy #VeteransDay2023."

Ross, who is transgender, added that she joined when she was 17 years old and turned 18 while she was at boot camp.

“Running away from who I was, thinking the military would give me stability & make me 'straight,'" Ross wrote. "I learned so much about myself. It's why I hold so much conviction. I’ll be 43 this month. My life is rich with experience & perspective."

The star, who recently said she was moving into politics, joined the Navy in order to receive a G.I. Bill to pay for her college. However, she received an “uncharacterized” discharge after being harassed for six months by her fellow servicemembers for her perceived sexuality.

Besides acting and her activism, Ross is the founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, which helps trans people learn web development and graphic design to help their financial stability.

In her Tweets, Ross referred to a new project by the Pentagon to have veterans who were discharged without honor from the military over their sexuality have their honor returned. Doing so would allow these veterans to access a host of services they are currently not able to receive. Those discharged can now petition for their status to be changed, but many have said the process is difficult and long. The new program would just automatically change the status without the former servicemember having to go through the hoops of having it changed.

In a nine-month investigation by CBS, the outlet found that many LGBTQ+ service members found that due to being discharged under the policy they were not able to access a variety of benefits offered to veterans. Those included loans, tuition assistance, health care, and even employment. It's led to a class-action lawsuit against the Pentagon, arguing that they should systematically be upgraded to honorable discharge.

Between 1980 and 2011 over 35,000 service members "received a discharge or separation because of real or perceived homosexuality, homosexual conduct, sexual perversion, or any other related reason," CBS reports. Less than 1,500 have had their discharge classification updated.

"For decades, our LGBTQ+ Service members were forced to hide or were prevented from serving altogether. Even still, they selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our country and the American people. Unfortunately, too many of them were discharged from the military based on their sexual orientation – and for many this left them without access to the benefits and services they earned," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement in September when the new program was announced. "Over the past decade, we’ve tried to make it easier for Service members discharged based on their sexual orientation to obtain corrective relief. While this process can be difficult to navigate, we are working to make it more accessible and efficient. In the coming weeks, we will be initiating new outreach campaigns to encourage all Service members and Veterans who believe they have suffered an error or injustice to seek correction to their military records."

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