Army Sergeant Darren Manzella Speaks Out After Interview

Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network talked with Army Sgt. Darren Manzella after last night’s 60 Minutes interview and Manzella says that so far there has been no response from the U.S. Military regarding his participation in the story.

ManzellaSaid Manzella: “I have not received any notification, positive or negative, from my command since I notified them of my participation in the story or since the broadcasting of the segment…I have served with many men and women in Iraq, Kuwait and throughout the United States. In my opinion, they do not care if a service member is gay or straight. These men and women are my brothers and sisters in arms and I am the same to them. I know that what matters to most is not the sexual orientation of the person in your unit. What matters most is if that person is a good worker, a team player and most importantly, if that person has your back when it rewally matters whether it be in a combat zone, during a training exercise or day to day operations. I think that a majority of troops are in favor, or at the very least indifferent, to the repeal of this policy. I find that many are surprised that so much power and influence over the fate of this policy lies in the hands of individuals who are not even in the ranks of the military.”

More at SLDN

Duncan Hunter Defends Gay Ban: U.S. Needs “Hardened Warriors” [tr]
60 Minutes to Cover “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Wartime Policy [tr]


  1. michael says

    He’s definetely hot, but I just can’t care about the issue of gays in the military. In principle, I believe we should be allowed to serve openly like everyone else, but the other part wonders why anyone would want to serve the whims of this government.

  2. says

    We stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. Many Americans have forgotten that DADT was the RESULT of Keith Meinholds VICTORY in sueing the military regarding its policy on Gays. In order to PREVENT others from coming out DADT was created to change the playing field and make his VICTORY irrelevent. We won the battle – so the straights took their balls, away – Lets play a different game called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – it will be fun.

    Keith Meinhold Navy 1992 This Navy petty officer first class came out on ABC’s World News Tonight in May of 1992. He was discharged in August. He won his lawsuit and was reinstated in November. After being openly Gay in the military for nearly four years, Meinhold retired in March, 1996. He works in the publishing industry in San Francisco.

    Kelly L.
    Portland Oregon
    Thanks Keith.

  3. Eric says

    He is a hottie! I served 20 years in the military in the closet — 10 of those years with my partner who happened to be a servicemember also. It sucked hiding — glad to be retired now. I applaud Darren — that was a brave thing to do.

  4. Michael Bedwell says

    While the issue of having behavioral policies within the military was lightly touched upon a couple of times last night, and I commend Manzella and the SLDN spokeswoman for their performances, not enough is made of the perfect illustration of how the military could [if they wanted to] deal with the issue of homophobia in the ranks.

    Ironically, my late friend, Leonard Matlovich, before purposely coming out to sue the Air Force over its antigay policies in a 1975 test case, was, in addition to a Vietnam vet with a Purple Heart, a USAF “Race Relations Instructor.” These classes had been created in 1971 to deal with the racism that still persisted in the military decades after the services had been officially integrated, and that had actually increased due to reactions to the civilian black civil rights movement. Participation in such classes was mandatory. Their goal was, “to maintain the highest degree of organizational and combat readiness by fostering harmonious relations among all military personnel.”

    So the model is already there and SLDN et al., needs to be rubbing it in their faces when they claim integration of out gays would fracture the military. In other words, they’re more afraid of a few out gays than they are Al Qaeda, anthrax, landmines, and nuclear weapons.

    As for Keith Meinhold, one wishes to take nothing away from his courage and service, but, with all due respect, the assertion that DADTDP was the result of his legal success is hardly accurate. For one thing, DADTDP was implemented in 1993 before his case was finally “won” by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling in 1994. And, last I heard, he was still living in Florida, having left San Francisco a few years ago.

  5. says

    I watched 60 minutes just for this story.

    I like to hear that lots of people in the military just don’t care if someone’s gay. I just have a feeling that Darren wants out. That being said, I think he (and the 4 others in the story) are brave for speaking out.

    Don’t ask don’t tell is an antiquated way of thinking. The military should be available to all who want to serve their country.

  6. Ernest says

    I applaud Darren because, living in the closetis psychologically and emotionally draining. You feel your lying to all your friends and co-workers, so you have this feeling of dishonesty. In addition, you always feel like you have to keep your guard up around others, that you can’t just be yourself. This takes a major toll on you over time, add the pressure of the fear of being found out, dealing with the homophobic speech and rhetoric of some individuals around you and of those in leadership positions, and you can see why being in the closet can be a vary challenging place to be. Add on top of all the the stress of the combat arena, and being in the closet actually can erode unit cohesion because the gay unit member has all this additional stress and burden put upon him in addition to the stress of combat.

    If the gay unit member was free to be himself or herself, they would not have this extra burdon to deal with. As far as those who would have a problem with it, surveys have already shown that, the majority of military members would not have a problems with gay troops being out. Those who do have a problem with it simply need to go through
    the training programs that teach acceptances of differences of religion, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

    I don’t think Darren and the others want out of the military, I think they simply see a double standard. That standard is, if your gay and in a non-critical position our make yourself too noticeable your kicked out, but if your in a critical position, you can be out and kept in the military. The fact the number of gays being kicked out is decreasing during war time shows that, we are good enough to die, but not good enough to be in the military during peace time which is why, so many gay service members are angry about the whole situation and leaving of their own free will.

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