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Gay US veteran finally granted honourable discharge after 60 years

2016-01-30
An 82 year old U.S. army veteran, who was given an 'undesirable' discharge for being gay in 1955, has finally been granted an honourable discharge, almost 60 years later. Donald Hallman, from Ohio, appealed to the Army Review Board with the help of the Stonewall Columbus organisation and U.S. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. Hallman believes he was the victim of a sting operation, while on active service in Germany, where an innocent conversation with another young man led to him being sent home and discharged immediately. He never shared the details of how his army career ended with anyone. "If I had openly explained why I was discharged, back in those days, you would have been a piece of trash," he said. "My family never knew it, my wife never knew it, nobody knew it." 00veterans-web01-master675 It was only last year, when he finally told one of his daughters, that she decided to help him have his discharge overturned, and reached out to Stonewall and the local Senator on her father's behalf. Senator Brown took to Facebook in December to show his support for Hallman, writing, "Those who served our country even when it didn't support them deserve our utmost respect and honor, and we owe it to them to make upgrading their discharge status as easy and efficient as possible." On Friday, Associated Press reported that Hallman had finally received his honourable discharge, in relation to his service in the military from 1953 to 1955.
President Barack Obama repealed the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in 2010, which effectively forbade gay military members from serving openly. However, around 100,000 service members were dishonourably discharged in the past as a result of their sexual orientation.
In addition to the shame many members felt, this kind of discharge also means they lost out on their military benefits.
Speaking of the prospect of having his discharge upgraded last year, Hallman said, "I hope it happens with every other person who was mistreated." You can hear more of Donald's inspiring story in this video he made for Stonewall Columbus last year. More stories President Obama names first openly gay military secretary Attitude Pride Award winner: 'Oldest gay in the village' George Montague