Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Thomas Roberts

Gay Marine Brandon Morgan Talks to Thomas Roberts About Homecoming Photo, Breaking Stereotypes: VIDEO


Gay Marine Brandon Morgan spoke with MSNBC's Thomas Roberts about his homecoming photo, how it helps break stereotypes about gay people, what the photo might mean to kids who are struggling with sexual identity, and what he has to say to people who have said they are offended by a photo of two men kissing.


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  1. I don't think he should ever apologize to the haters.

    Posted by: Eric in Chicago | Feb 29, 2012 1:55:18 PM

  2. This is so inspiring!

    Posted by: JP | Feb 29, 2012 1:56:23 PM

  3. it's 2012, folks. if you're a grown adult then it's time to stand up to be counted. we adults have a responsibility to open the doors for the next generations.

    and on that note, i tip my hat to the men and women who took the risks and came out in times far more dangerous and unforgiving than today.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 29, 2012 1:56:35 PM

  4. If it offends you to see this PDA, then just look away, it's that simple.

    Posted by: jsb | Feb 29, 2012 2:03:04 PM

  5. He's a classy guy

    Posted by: Mick | Feb 29, 2012 2:05:58 PM

  6. Two of the people who helped make it possible someday for gay and lesbians to both serve their country and live and love out loud will be reunited in a way in a ceremony in Washington DC this Saturday when the ashes of the late Frank Kameny, who began the fight against the ban half-a-century ago, will be interred in a plot next to that of his protoge Leonard Matlovich who, in 1975, became the first gay service member to purposely out himself to challenge the ban, and whose stone bears the famous epitaph, "When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one. Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street SE, Washington DC. 11 am. All welcome.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Feb 29, 2012 2:16:23 PM

  7. As a Hollywood robot said in days of yore, "Danger Will Robinson!". The military is filled (particularly in the ranks outside the officer class) with undereducated kids who received homophobia at the breakfast table with their Wheaties. Worse yet, the chaplain's corps is filled with evangelical fundies and also Catholic priests of almost as much animosity. Liberals are few and far between in the Marines.

    It is all well and good for those of us sitting in the comfort of our home or WiFi hotspot and submitting these comments to applaud his openness. He is taking a big risk on a personal safety basis, and having persons who never served in the military (I did in the bad old days) cavalierly say "damn the haters" is cold comfort. Telling others to be martyrs is easy from the comfort of your Starbucks chair. I pray he will be safe and not just from an insurgents bomb or bullet.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Feb 29, 2012 2:21:50 PM

  8. Brandon, there is no need to apologize for being who you are and publicly expressing your love for your partner. To those who may be offended I say, deal with it. Many gays are offended by public displays of affection by heterosexuals and we've had to deal with it for a lot longer.

    Good luck to you and your partner, Brandon. May you guys stay together, happily, forever. And I love the picture, I have it on my desktop. I'm proud of you and proud of your service. Semper Fi!

    Posted by: Bob R | Feb 29, 2012 2:26:08 PM

  9. Looks like Whitney Houston jumpin' on Bobby Brown as he was being released from prison. Soooo not my style, but I'm pleased that they feel free enough to do it.

    Posted by: Butch McStrong | Feb 29, 2012 2:28:24 PM

  10. I don't think the marine who know him had any problem with the kiss or the photo. Can we cite an example of a protest against this?

    Posted by: anon | Feb 29, 2012 2:44:47 PM

  11. I want a gay marine for me to take home too!

    Posted by: PRW | Feb 29, 2012 2:50:39 PM

  12. Contrarian: I don't know how long ago your "bad old days" were, but I served in a very macho Army unit from 2000-2004. Several people in my platoon knew I was gay. The rest found out soon after I left. None of them had any problem with it, or with me.

    Now in 2012, attitudes of folks aged 18-35 (you know, the core of the military) are overwhelmingly pro-gay. The people who had a problem with DADT repeal were not the young lower- and middle-class enlisted personnel that you're worried about. It was the older members of the officer corps who were holding back repeal.

    Posted by: BABH | Feb 29, 2012 2:52:05 PM

  13. Kind of difficult to become the poster couple for the repeal of DADT overnight, I'm thinking, when all you intended to do was greet your special someone in a special way. It seems that Brandon was taking a few steps back from his original "haters are going to hate" standpoint with that apology. Perhaps some of the negative feedback was personal (as in, from people close to him). It also seems that he has been on quite the journey to get where he is now. I hope that in acknowledging the feelings of others he doesn't give up too much. I suspect many of us can relate to the push and pull of people in our lives. I also suspect many of us didn't always believe that the opinions of others ultimately can't matter when it comes to being who you have to be.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 29, 2012 2:52:18 PM

  14. Dear "Butch McStrong"

    The more agressive man is seven inches shorter, so he jumped on the other
    The "butch homophobia" from 1970 needs to be behind us

    Posted by: Bob | Feb 29, 2012 2:54:08 PM

  15. @Contrarian - You are stereotyping and being just as bigoted against Marines as the alleged straw men you are condemning. Give our men in uniform a little more credit. Just listening to this guy speak, i highly doubt they would have a problem with what one of their own, who has been on several deployments, does in his own personal time. We are not talking about some flaming hair dresser that is wanting to run a Pride parade through the barracks. If anything, he is breaking stereotypes.

    Posted by: Lisa G | Feb 29, 2012 2:55:40 PM

  16. don't we all take a "Big Personal Safety Risk" when we Come Out?

    there's some bogus notion that those who are Out have somehow "had it easier"..... i've never met anyone who had it "easy" when coming out. i've never met anyone whose coming out didn't come with a big risk, and whose lives as openly-LGBT people are not met with contuining "risks" every day.

    some people are called to lead, some people choose to be on the front lines of the culture war. and some choose not to.

    i tip my hat to those brave people who, for decades, having taken those risks, and continue to, with such selflessness.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 29, 2012 2:59:09 PM

  17. I think it is great that the focus of this entire piece was on shattering stereotypes--replacing the image of gay men as effeminate, diva-worshiping, out-of-the-social-mainstream types with an image of manliness and courage, with both the openly gay interviewer and the interviewee being completely devoid of any effeminate mannerisms or stereotypical gay behavior.

    Thanks, Tom Roberts for helping to return us to the REAL battle--namely, to eradicate homophobia by encouraging masculine behavior on the part of gay men--and away from the absurd pursuit on the part of some of a gender-bending ideology that will only prove self-defeating.

    Posted by: Rick | Feb 29, 2012 3:10:13 PM

  18. @Lisa. I hope you are right, and things are as "cool" in the ranks as you claim. Maybe it's because I served back in the days of the Huey helicopter and Abrams tank, and there has been a generational change. However, as Mr. Towle keeps us informed of the latest homophobic assault outrages on this blog, I'd note the malefactors are always aged 16 to 30 males. Guess some folks in he "millennial" generation didn't get the memo.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Feb 29, 2012 3:10:49 PM

  19. No apologies.
    If anyone has been offended by the loving warmth of two men kissing then they need psychiatric intervention.

    And if homophobia has become a neurosis among the rampant ignorant zealots then let's prescribe some serious tranquilisers for their disease.
    Now where is the enthusiasm of the American Psychiatric Association on this "homophobia disease" ?
    It, the APA, was all over us being "defective" a few years ago.

    This Sgt. is courageous beyond words.....and he is everything we need in showing society what equality is all about.Please ignore the haters , Sgt, their profound ignorance will be their monument to their prejudice and bigotry.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 29, 2012 3:13:39 PM

  20. Ahh, Rick, too bad your poor little misogynistic theories are blown... once again!

    While these two fellas may appear masculine, one of them is a painter (how gay!), and guess who our good ol' Marine here lists on Facebook under his favorite artists? Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Beyonce.

    Like the vast majority of gays, they are well rounded individuals with broad interests that aren't confined to your archaic labels of masculine and feminine. So you can shove your constant stream of anti-woman rants right up your puckered ass.

    Posted by: endo | Feb 29, 2012 3:25:35 PM

  21. >don't we all take a "Big Personal Safety Risk" when we Come Out?<

    KIWI: Some of those risks are bigger, or at least seem bigger, for some people. And some of the risks persist. That's why it's a process. Some people are better able to cope, not only through personal strength, but also social support systems. Having a supportive family can make a huge difference, as you well know. Regardless, if you've gone through it, are going through it, or have yet to open the door, we should be empathetic. We may not feel the sting of the icy blast of reality on our face exactly the same way, but we ought to be able to relate to a change in temperature.

    The one exemption, always, being RICK. No empathy possible.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 29, 2012 3:31:36 PM

  22. TJ, absolutely. But the call for empathy is indeed for ALL - for the grown-adult men who are not, let's be honest, in any real tangible sense of "danger" and who instead value their own sense of VANITY over solidarity and opening doors.

    RICK is a perfect example of this. angry bitter rants against 'effeminate' men, when the reality is that RICK is still Closeted, and doesn't have the orbs to LIVE the example he demands that others abide by.

    the empathy needed most is for those who are struggling - and there are legions of grown-adult males who could do the younger generations a world of benefit by thinking of Others, and not themselves.

    there's a reason that RICK and his aliases say what they say, from the place of anonymity that they always shout from: his type of self-loathing is exclusive to those still living with one foot, and both balls, firmly in the closet.

    if RICK believed half the crap he writes he'd have simply given the URL to his own page or video, and shown us all HOW to live by this example. he's not done this. because not only does he NOT embody those things that he wishes he did, but he's not man enough to even try.

    RICK reminds me of those girls in highschool who always complained about the school dances, yet never joined the organizing committees that put them together.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 29, 2012 3:41:44 PM

  23. @ENDO Actually, I don't think of painting as inherently "gay", any more than any other art form is. And I appreciate great art as much as anyone, although I would not consider myself a connosieur (sp.)

    Some of you are so removed from a NATURAL masculinity in terms of both understanding and behavior that you, yourselves, have to resort to stereotypes and caricatures to try to understand the concept.

    ANd that is also why even your attempts to mimic the behavior of women get it all wrong (real women don't even act or talk the way that effeminate gay men do).

    All of which underscores the fact that effeminate behavior in men is nothing but an artifice and a construct and a sad and embarrasing legacy of oppression, nothing more.....and the sooner it is discarded along with all other forms of dysfunction in gay life, the better off we will all be.

    Posted by: Rick | Feb 29, 2012 3:52:29 PM

  24. @ "Bob":

    Did you happen to read the part where I expressed happiness that they felt free enough to be open about their relationship? Did you happen to notice that I was pointing out that this couple is now able to express themselves publicly exactly as a heterosexual couple would? Even if it goes against my personal grain in either case, did you notice that I was kinda live and let live about it?

    >>The "butch homophobia" from 1970 needs to be behind us.<<

    Phobia, schmobia. No, I still like my men masculine (and about 20 years younger than me, so save us the age-ist spiel already)--even men-loving men can still have personal preferences, right? But I'm definitely on board with getting behind them.

    Posted by: Butch McStrong | Feb 29, 2012 3:53:23 PM

  25. Rick, prove that you are what you say you are.

    prove that you embody what you demand everyone else embody.

    provide the URL where you show us all this specific example of a gay man that you claim to be.

    seriously. what's the link?

    the more you run away the more you prove yourself to be one more insecure and decidedly NON-masculine wimp.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 29, 2012 3:58:32 PM

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