Navy Seaman Allen Schindler brought international attention to LGBTQ people in the military when he was murdered for being gay on Oct. 27, 1992.
Schindler’s murder remains relevant as U.S. lawmakers consider banning transgender people from military service, based on a directive from President Donald Trump in July 2017.
Soon after Schindler was killed, President Bill Clinton and others cited his case in the debate about gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military. Discussions led to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 1993. That policy ended in 2011, when the U.S. military decided to stop discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
|Allen R. Schindler, Jr.|
The hate crime against Schindler is portrayed in an epic painting by gay artist Matthew Wettlaufer, who makes connections between anti-LGBTQ violence and other human rights struggles in his art. Wettlaufer discusses his painting of Schindler and his other LGBTQ-related political art in the previous post “New paintings honor gay martyrs.”
Born in 1969, Schindler served as a radioman petty officer third class. He was brutally beaten to death because he was gay by two of his shipmates in a public restroom in Sasebo, Japan.
At first the Navy tried to cover up the circumstances of Schindler’s death. The movie “Any Mother’s Son” tells the true story of how his mother, Dorothy Hadjys-Holman, overcame her own homophobia and Naval cover-up attempts to get justice for her gay son. She also spoke at the 1993 March on Washington for LGBT Rights.
Oct. 27 also happens to be Navy Day in the United States.
Top image credit:
“The Murder of Allen Schindler” by Matthew Wettlaufer
Mattis Says Panel Will Study Trump’s Transgender Military Ban (New York Times, Aug. 29, 2017)
Books on LGBTQ people in the military
Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy Seal’s Journey to Coming Out Transgender” by Kristin Beck and Anne Speckhard
“Serving in Silence” by Margarethe Cammermeyer
This post is part of the LGBTQ Saints series by Kittredge Cherry. Traditional and alternative saints, people in the Bible, LGBTQ martyrs, authors, theologians, religious leaders, artists, deities and other figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and our allies are covered.
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