Oklahoma lesbian Lisa Weiszmiller has had her Army certificate of discharge reissued to list her discharge as honorable instead of dishonorable after she was kicked out of the army in 1979.
The reissued certificate is dated to 22 June 1979 and was given to her just days before the 35 year anniversary of her being kicked out of the army over her sexual orientation.
Weiszmiller is only one of around a hundred thousand gay and lesbian personnel who were booted out of the US armed forces between World War II and the 2011 end of the so-called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that banned gays and lesbians form serving openly.
Since the repeal of that policy the US Defense Department has offered to correct the discharge papers of any veteran who was fired over their sexual orientation alone.
People who have been dishonorably discharged may not access military benefits or health services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Weiszmiller was able to get her discharge upgraded to honorable through an appeal to the Army Boards of Correction for Military Records and she is now fighting to get the disability benefits and medical treatment for a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder she says was caused by her discharge.
Weiszmiller told The Oklahoman that she had been discharged as part of an Army witch hunt against gays and lesbians in uniform that began soon after she enlisted in 1978 at age 19.
‘They searched our lockers, found some personal letters from friends and decided they were going to kick us out for being gay,’ she said.
‘From what I understand, they ended up kicking 62 people out from that company when it was all said and done.’
Weiszmiller said that they were all fined a month’s pay before being dragged before a military court to be discharged over their sexual orientation.