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A lesbian veteran wins a GLAAD award for her gay play set in wartime--and who praises her in print? The Army.

Last summer my wife and I realized a longtime ambition: We mounted a Los Angeles production of my play Bluebonnet Court, a World War II-era lesbian love story about a New York reporter who finds sex and segregation alive and well while stranded in a dusty Texas town.

We played to sold-out crowds, got great reviews, and won honors including two NAACP Theatre Awards. And in March, Bluebonnet Court received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theater.

Major media outlets didn't cover that GLAAD award.

But the Army did.

I'm a graduate of the Defense Information School, or DINFOS, trainer of all U.S. military P.R. people, journalists, and broadcasters. And now, I--a faggy-butch, cross-dressing lesbian and proud veteran of the armed forces--have become one of the "DINFOS luminaries." The school's alumni Web site, not an official Defense Department site--says so, proudly proclaiming me among "some of the most recognizable people in the world."

Shock and awe, Mary: I write about gay folks--the people Gen. Peter Pace considers immoral. And as an openly gay woman, I'm not fit, by federal law, to wear an Army uniform. Yet I'm a "DINFOS luminary"? There's a wee disconnect here.

Make no mistake, I am delighted to be a DINFOS alumna, and I appreciate the press. In fact, the site also features a separate item on my book, Secret Service: Untold Stories of Lesbians in the Military--an indictment of the military's pointless and destructive "don't ask, don't tell" policy--trumpeting it as winner in 2006 of ForeWord Magazine's Best Gay/Lesbian Nonfiction Book of the Year award. There's even a link to for easy purchase.

Let's hope sales to the Pentagon pick up.

But back for a moment to Bluebonnet Court. The central theme of the play is the importance of being honest with oneself--what we gain by being truthful, by facing reality, and what we lose when we fail to do so. So let's be honest: The "don't ask, don't tell" policy is based on long-disproved psychoanalytic theories of the "homosexual" as inherently sick and unreliable and as such preserves prejudice, not military preparedness.

The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. But the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines continue to call us unfit--despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Even if we're "luminaries."

Lesbians and gay men serve and have served proudly and well in all branches of the American armed forces (and openly in the militaries of many of our allies). There are about 1 million LGBT vets in the United States and 65,000 gay, lesbian, and bi troops on active duty at any given time, according to a 2004 study by the Urban Institute (using 2000 Census figures).

We often are uncommonly dedicated-- the sharpest troops, earning the highest performance evaluations. We neither disrupt "good order and discipline" nor impair "unit cohesion." The real bar to good order and discipline, the real destroyer of unit cohesion--a fact well-documented but continually denied--is prejudice along with the bad behaviors, including harassment and violence, that it promotes.

And the price tag of prejudice? Conservatively, nearly $200 million taxpayer dollars in the last decade alone, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office in a report issued in 2005.

But the real cost of "don't ask, don't tell" isn't measured in dollars alone. The true cost of any policy is what we sacrifice as a nation in order to have it. With "don't ask, don't tell," we're sacrificing our dearest ideals of fairness, equality, and justice for all.

And that is a story the major media outlets should cover.

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