Silent Partners

Silent Partners July 18, 2009

A new documentary Silent Partner profiles gay partners of military personnel who have to go back into the closet to protect their partners’ careers in the military:

Ben Cartwright has been a passionate advocate for gay rights for 12 years. He is a regular at gay pride marches, has a pod-cast and writes for a gay newspaper in San Diego.

The last thing he expected was to have to put a part of himself back into the closet. But if the military were to find out about his love for a sailor, a man with years of honorable service would face a dishonorable discharge.

One of the rarely discussed effects of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule is the burden it places on the civilian partners of gay and lesbian service members. When their loved ones go to war, they do not have access to any of the counseling, financial assistance or support networks offered to heterosexual spouses. And if their loved ones die, no one will come knocking at their doors to notify them.

“The worst part of any of it is if anything were to happen to their partners when they are away, they are not notified,” Forman-Greenwald said. “That tragically was echoed two weeks ago with the death of Seaman August Provost.”

Provost’s boyfriend learned from the media that the sailor’s shot and torched body had been found in a guard shack at Camp Pendleton on June 30.

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