Friday, July 18, 2008

Families on the Frontlines: Sonya's Story

PFLAG's 'Families on the Frontlines' series continues with this guest post from Sonya Contreras, a former Army recruiter who was dismissed under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

- My name is Sonya and I am in love with Vanessa.

- We met online through a lesbian website. She sent me an email and said that she thought that I was cute. We corresponded for months over the internet before we finally met in person.

- She and I have been living together as a monogamous couple for over 4 years.

- We have a tendency to hold hands in public and stare longingly into each other’s eyes.

- We were Domestic Partners for 2 years.

- We were married at the Contra Costa County Courthouse in Martinez, California on 6/18/2008.

- We are in the process of fostering-to-adopt a little girl through the county.

- I work for a corporation that does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any individual based upon sexual orientation or gender and enforces that policy.

- We are raising Vanessa’s two biological sons; they receive full medical and dental benefits through the health insurance provided by my employer.

- Vanessa is the sole beneficiary on my life insurance policy.

None of these facts would be possible if I were still serving in the United States Army because of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

I was accused of being a lesbian by a male soldier after I refused his sexual advances. I was discharged on July 17, 2003 after more than 5 years of service.

I did not meet Vanessa until January 8, 2004.

My name is Sonya Contreras and I am a veteran of the United States Army.

I am proud to be an American.

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is anything but “American.”