COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

Deep on the base in Camp Pendleton, in an isolated area, seaman August Provost was brutally murdered while on duty. August was a black gay sailor who was found dead in a guard shack at 3:30 in the morning. Stories abound. One story says Provost’s aunt reported that the authorities told her that the seaman was “gagged, bound by the hands and feet, shot in the head three times, and then his body burned.”
His family claims that Provost complained about being harassed because of his sexual orientation during the months prior to his death.
The Naval Service Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, has jurisdiction over the murder probe. A spokesman for the Navy claims there is no evidence that Provost’s murder was a hate crime. Because the military does not recognize sexual orientation and the federal government does not define assault on gays as a “hate crime” — for federal investigative purposes, there can be no evidence of a “gay” hate crime.
Another Navy official says Provost never reported any harassment problems. The circumstances surrounding and leading up to Provost’s death may never be thoroughly investigated because the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy keeps military members and other defense department personnel working at military installations from reporting harassment based on sexual orientation for fear of losing their jobs. The policy prevents others who may have information about Provost’s previous sexual harassment from coming forward and reporting events.
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a cruel policy that impacts civilians in the military as well as military members. No matter what the investigative outcome, one fact is certain — August Provost had nowhere to turn to officially complain about any sexual harassment before his death because he would have been discharged if he did. He suffered silently. The government’s policy actually cultivates sexual discrimination against gays and lesbians because they cannot complain to halt harassment. It’s time to ask our elected representatives in Congress why we continue such a failed policy.

Tracy Emblem is an attorney and a democratic candidate who is running for U.S. Congress, in California’s 50th District in 2010.

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  1. Diggs says:

    Shame shame shame on Tracy Emblem playing the “gay card”. Trying to cultivate the gay voting militia?
    Even the candidate you’re running against hasn’t stooped that low…not that she’s isn’t capable..I mean, she tried catering to the illegal alien sympathizing voters and still can shake the stink of that albatross.
    Thanks for showing your hand; the uninformed and fence sitting voters have a much clearer choice now.

  2. Thinking Straight says:

    Diggs… Don’t you think that homosexuals have the right to vote, be treated fairly and have the same civil rights as everyone else?

    Heterosexual harassment is very serious, and homosexual harassment should be weighed the same.

    Let me ask… When your house is on fire do you ask for only heterosexual fire fighters to save your house? I suspect that the fence you were sitting on is between the American Independent and Republican Parties.

    Tracy Emblem is fighting for civil rights and is courageous to come-out and support the investigation and raise some very valid points about how we continue to discriminate, even in 2009. Looks like the “B” candidates are gonna stay in the closet on this one, maybe you should do the same.

  3. Afro Sheen says:

    Thinking Straight missed the point – I’m guessing skipped history 101 for surf at beacon’s?
    Some points of interest:
    1. Gays have every civil right any non-gay has, since civil rights are handed out to every legal US citizen in the US by the federal government.
    2. The “Don’t ask/Don’t Tell” policy was signed into law by everyone’s knight in shining armor, the holier than thou Bill Clinton back in 93…funny that most people either choose to ignore the fact that their choice of president hosed them with the signing of the bill or the press goes out of their way to make sure no one remembers. How many knee jerking Clinton supporters felt “saved” when SouthSideBarry got elected?
    Note to all you “saved” voters: You too will soon (if not already) feel betrayed by your choices.

    Is it right that August Provost was killed?
    No
    Was it right that he was probably killed by a closet queen?
    No, but violence in the homosexual community is typical of their deviant lifestyle.
    Follow the history how this event plays out and I’ll be proved right.
    August Provost signed up for Navy long after the DADT policy was in place and he either knew what he was getting into or he ignored it.

    Personally speaking, neither party has what I want in a candidate for this coming election but I have to choose the lesser of two evils if I am to vote.
    It certainly won’t be Bah Bah Busby or Emblem.

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