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Episode 9: Asking And Telling


Anthony Moll

9: "Asking And Telling" with Anthony Moll
Justin Hudnall sits down with vet Anthony Moll, who used to be a trainer for the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Anthony identifies as queer and is among the last generation of service members who had to stay in something like "the closet." In this episode, Justin asks, Anthony tells. Warning: Some language in this episode may be offensive to some audiences.

Justin Hudnall: Welcome to Incoming, the series featuring the true stories from the men and women of America’s military, told in their own words, straight from their own mouths. I’m Justin Hudnall We’re spending today with two stories and a talk with Anthony Moll, now a lecturer at the University of Baltimore, formerly with the US Army Military Police K9 Section, among other assignments. One of those other assignments included serving as a trainer for the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, which had to have been someone of a loaded, fraught, maybe even subversive experience I like to think, because Anthony identifies as queer and has since before he joined the Army. So with that unique perspective as one of the last generations to serve, if not completely in the closet, then with much judicial weight placed on how out they could be, we’ll let Anthony tell you the rest. Anthony Moll: Hi, my name is Anthony Moll, and I’m going to be reading my story, “Last Year.” Last Year by Anthony Moll When you jump ship, you either swim for shore or drown. – Propagandhi On December 21st, 2009, just shy of eight years after I left home in a hurry to join the U.S. Army, I am in the driver’s seat, leaving an Army base in suburban Maryland, wearing my uniform for the last time. “I know you’re not going to miss it,” my First Sergeant, a refrigerator of a man in army fatigues, tells me just before I go. “A lot of guys do, but you’ve got some things going for you.” It’s one of the last things said to me in uniform, offered just before I step out into the winter air. This is my final commendation from a military leader. *** On December 22nd, 2010, just a year after my last day in the Army, the world’s most powerful man pulls back a wooden chair and sits down at a desk on a stage decorated with the flags of each branch of service. The President is in a dark suit. A small American flag pin rests on his lapel. Behind him there is a small crowd of lawmakers also in dark suits, except for the women in bright colors, who huddle in to be seen by the cameras. The chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff neither smiles nor frowns as he stands in his Navy dress uniform. The Vice President grins his old man grin. The two former service members on stage are at the end of a tour of duty in which they have acted as the face of a law that said those who love members of the same sex were unfit to serve openly in the military. The President, smiling, signs the paper on the desk, and a bill transforms into law. They call it a repeal. We call it a wrong made right. He signs it with two boxes full of pens, a strange standard applied whenever new laws are signed, and when he is finished, he looks out at the crowd, smiling. He slaps his palm down at the table. “This is done.” • In December 2009, I don’t come out of the closet. I should say, I don’t come back out of the closet. I was out at sixteen, but the aforementioned law pushed me into eight years of a strange sort of bullshitting; even though many people seemed to assume I was queer, I wasn’t allowed to say it. Or to hold hands. Or to go on dates anywhere near the bases where I was stationed. Or to visit the barracks rooms of other queer soldiers without the heart-thudding fear of being burst in on. I don’t come back out for two more months, despite being hired by the biggest gay and lesbian nonprofit organization in the country. I’m on separation leave, leave time spent at the end of my contract for the sake of making my last day of work arrive a few weeks earlier. This means that although I’m out of the Army, I’m still, technically, in the Army on paper. For weeks after I take off the uniform, something keeps me in, keeps me silent. I have yet to escape a sense of duty about the Army, a sense of what I should and shouldn’t stand for as a representation of the modern soldier. It’s also fear that keeps me in. Irrational fear, really. Fear that I’ll lose my veterans benefits. Fear that I’ll be pulled back in. Fear related to years of listening to my peers and my bosses talk about how they’d kick a soldier’s ass, or worse, if they knew he was gay. I’ve yet to repair the injury caused by being fearful for years that I would, at best, be asked to leave, that I would be told that I don’t belong. • In December 2010, only a few people in my office know that I date women. I’ve been seeing the same woman for a few years now, but here in this gay office in D.C., everyone assumes I mean boyfriend or husband when I say “partner.” When I came back out earlier this year, I did so in the most theatrical of ways. (Although it is hard to call it a coming out; No one suspected I was straight at that point.) The day I formally got out of the military, the day the ink dried, the day any real risk in doing so disappeared, gay blogs across the country shared a letter that I wrote to the President, calling for the end of the law called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In the letter, I come out as bisexual again, and I brag about my silent service. To be honest, at this point I identify as pansexual – something akin to bisexual, but rejecting the concept that gender and sex are binary and uniform concepts. Because the letter is a rhetorical act, a marketing ploy aimed at a right-leaning audience, I keep it simple. Even in my reemergence, I act cautiously, I am limited. • In December 2009, before I go, I’m not exactly passing for heterosexual. In uniform I am not a towering presence. I have a slight lisp and overly-groomed eyebrows. I often forgo the required beret in my uniform because I don’t want to mess up my hair. I don’t hide that I’ve got a gay job lined up in D.C. In this hyper-masculine, heteronormative culture, I stand out. I’m also the non-commissioned officer assigned to lecture my unit on the regulations regarding sexual harassment, equal opportunity and the current policy restricting open service for gay and lesbian troops in the military. This isn’t punishment or an inappropriate joke on the part of my bosses; I volunteered for this position. The last presentation I gave on these subjects wasn’t much different from the rest. A few dozen troops in their uniforms packed into a classroom as I flipped through a slideshow presentation. “The goal of the Army’s Equal Opportunity policy is to ensure fair treatment of all soldiers.” I tell them again, the same mandatory message they heard last quarter and the quarter before. When the part on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” comes up, I feel the room get quieter. I feel it as a stillness on my skin, as if these warriors were holding their breath. Or not. The truth is, very few soldiers really gave much consideration to the rule. Even in this conservative culture, most of the people who have work to do every day don’t seem to care anymore. It’s a non-issue nowadays. It is as likely as not that any tension in the air during these sessions was imagined by a soldier with a lot on his shoulders. “There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces,” I tell them, reading from the slide. “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” I don’t mind saying it. It’s not masochism; it’s relief of pressure, the chance to talk about it, the chance to speak, however bent. • In December 2010, I am still keeping my hair short on the sides, although now I grow it into a wide, Mohawk-type mess on the top. I’m wearing dress shirts and ties for the first time in my life. But because this is a trendy, modern office (trendy for D.C., at least), I’m not in a suit. Jeans and a button-up aren’t out of place here. On Fridays, when it gets casual, I wear a t-shirt, which shows the collection of tattoos I amassed while serving. Short sleeves in the office bring about another first – being considered butch. “So you got all your tattoos when you were in the Army?” a member of the field team – the attractive guys and gals who go out to get petitions signed – asks me, as he leans onto my desk and lifts the sleeve of my shirt. “I love guys with tattoos,” he says as he smiles before strutting away. Here in this culture, where everyone is assumed gay first, my tattoos, my novice sense of style and my history in the military present me as almost a tough guy. A little bit butch. Probably a Top. • In December 2009, I am a superhero. When soldiers tell people, at least people who live on and around military bases, that they train dogs for the Army, there are only a few responses that they get. That is so cool. Wow. How did you get into that? So you get to play with dogs every day? When we’re hanging out in our office with our dogs kenneled nearby barking to each other, canine handlers pretend to complain, pretend we’ve tired of this routine. We haven’t. We love the vest with K-9 printed on the back that we wear over our fatigues. We love parking anywhere we please and keeping the oversize SUVs running because we have to keep our eyes on the dogs. We love wrapping our leashes around our shoulders, or letting them hang off of our belts, so that everyone can see them. We like silently encouraging people to ask. It’s the attention. It’s the fact that we’re being zipped around the world to search for bombs, the fact that we’re rubbing elbows with Secret Service in NYC. This feels like rock star status. It’s among the reasons that so few handlers are in a rush to leave the military. “What is it that you think you are you going to do when you get out?” The First Sergeant asked most soldiers to scare them from leaving. • In December 2010, I am a lackey. My boss is significantly more butch than I am. No, not butch – he wears polo shirts tight enough cling to his chest and arms – but aggressive. From my cubicle outside of his office, I watch as my coworkers leave conversations with him muttering under their breath, almost crying sometimes. He doesn’t budge. He gets his way. “Listen, my friend.” One can tell he has distaste for someone when he calls them “friend.” “That just isn’t going to happen.” My job, the job I left the Army for, the job for which I went to school at night while serving in K-9 units across the globe, is to keep him happy. Expense reports. Travel arrangements. Find him a place that ships suits. Call him a taxi. “Anthony,” he calls from his desk, not bothering to stand. “How about a cupcake run?” Cupcakes for the whole office. He buys, and I walk down to boutique bakery to pick up our treats. And here’s the thing, as much as this sounds like whining, I wear a genuine smile as I stand in the brightly lit bakery in Dupont Circle, the historically gay district of the city. I wear tight slacks and a shirt pinned closed with a skinny tie and balance several bright pink boxes of 3-dollar-a-piece cupcakes to hand out to an office full of happy, queer professionals. • In December 2009, I say K-9. I say SSD. SSG. LP/OP. QRF. We say FOB, even fobbit. K-pot. CAB. 550 cord. 9 mil. Downrange. FRAGO. XO. BOLO. IED. CBRN or NBC. RPG. Sham-shield. Stripes. NCOIC. MWR. MRE. DFAC. FTX. PX. M249 Getsome, Getsome. • In December 2010, I say sexual orientation. I say LGBT. Try LGBTIQQAA2-S. I say HRC. NCTE. NCLR. HIV/AIDS. Whitman-Walker. Kinsey. Butler. Sexual orientation. Gender identity. Gender expression. Gender nonconforming. Second-parent adoption. Medical power-of-attorney. Civil Union. SSM. MSM. GLADD and single-D GLAD, NCOD, ENDA, DADT, DOMA. Repeal, Repeal. • In December 2009, Staff Sergeant Barrel, the married, straight soldier who presents the equal opportunity lectures with me, stands with me in uniform in the hallway of my unit headquarters before I walk out the door for the last time. Without any hush in his voice, he asks me the most personal question he is permitted to ask me. “Do you think that they’ll repeal it within your lifetime?” “My lifetime? Of course, two or three more year of this, tops.” “I’m not so sure, there are plenty of old crusty types who are going to bitch about it.” I nod. “Yeah, but it’s not them who gets to decide. This is going down. We’ve got a Democrat in the big house and a campaign promise.” He lets a smirk creep out, not a mischievous one, not exactly. It is something closer to the smile of someone getting away with something, a whispered ask. “I was half-hoping it would be repealed before you went.” I blush. Despite his benign intent, despite my reemerging pride, I feel as though I am being accused of something. This should be the moment in which I come out, at least to a soldier I trust, when the stakes are low. I don’t. • In December 2010, I am sitting in meeting space on the first floor of building where I work in D.C. The space is all glass and milky white surfaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, plenty of light. Today there are rows of chairs and a projection screen set up for those of us who aren’t down the street watching firsthand the President sign this bill into law. I’ve been misty-eyed all day. I could barely keep it together on the subway train in, so I know that I might lose it when the live stream starts. I sit in the back with a cup of coffee, my legs crossed as I lean forward at the edge of my seat. I’ve got a lot on my to-do list today: expense reports, blogs posts. A celebratory cupcake run, no doubt. Still, today they will cut me some slack. As the stream begins, we watch as the camera scans the crowd. The gay congressman is there. There’s the Arabic linguist who the Army asked to leave, and the pilot kicked out just before retirement. There’s Eric, who lost his leg during the first push into Iraq. “Hey Anthony,” a blond coworker with a sweet face and kind, blue eyes sits down beside me in a T-shirt that reads REPEAL THE BAN. “Didn’t you used to be in the military?” “Yeah,” I tell him. “Used to.” I smile with some resignation, keeping my eyes on the screen as they well up. I smile with a small amount of embarrassment, with a small amount of pride. As the morning sun slips in through the window behind my seat, I smile, out of uniform. “Thank you. Thank you,” the President begins. “Today is a good day.” [Transition music.] Justin Hudnall: What prompted you to join up the Army in the first place? Anthony Moll: For me, it was a combination of things, is what I've always said. I think I'm still— 2002— 13 years later, still trying to figure out exactly everything that cued me to join, but in large part it was two things. Like a lot of service members, it was September 11 and a lot of people throughout the country just felt like they had to do something. At the time, I was sort of just a working class loser and I wasn't going to college. I wasn't really doing much with my life and so I definitely felt that need to do something, both with my life in the response to the attacks. For me, it was a combination of finding a way out of poverty along with the feeling that a lot of people felt after the attacks. When a recruiter called me, I was sort of primed to say yes. He called me early February, and I think within 17, 18 days, I was in Missouri in basic training. 17 days from the initial call, I was in Missouri at basic training. Justin Hudnall: Take me to the time when you are rotating out, which is kind of where your story last year really focuses on, your final duty station before rotating out. Talk to me a little bit about the difficulties associated with that, but also the difficulties – you were deployed overseas? Anthony Moll: Yes, but not into a combat zone. I spent 2 1/2 years on two separate tours in Korea, so I was overseas but never in real danger, no. Justin Hudnall: What was the climate like for you when you were overseas and in Korea? Take me back a little earlier. When did you identify as a pansexual individual or anything other than a straight man? Anthony Moll: So at 16, I came out to most of my friends and family as bisexual, so I was out before I joined the military. Then at 18, I joined and I had this sense that it wouldn't be a big deal, that I can just date on the evenings and weekends and just not say anything about it, and that would be fine. That wasn't the case. Some soldiers say that it was for them, but that was not the case for me. Justin Hudnall: Can you talk to me about why that was, why you felt all of a sudden that it was a bigger deal than you anticipated? Anthony Moll: Sure. One of the things that don't ask don't tell created was this culture of heteronormativity that everyone just assumes everyone is straight. You can't really say – everyone assumes you’re straight so they will say things about LGBT people assuming that everyone in the room around them is straight. They will say things about repealing, why it won't work and how gays aren't fit to serve and gay men in particular can’t handle the Army, and sort of ignoring the fact that obviously there are gay, bi and pansexual men already serving during DADT. The rhetoric during the repeal was that this isn't letting queer people serve in the military, this is letting them stop lying about the fact that they been serving in the military. That culture of heteronormativity just had a silencing effect where you don't know who you can trust, you don't know what you can say, and so for me it was just adhering to the letter of the law. I was out as I could be. I was going to pride events, I was speaking openly about my support of LGBT rights, but I wasn't out. I never said the words to anybody except the men that I dated the military that I was gay, bi, queer, or pansexual. Justin Hudnall: That makes me think of one of the more common refrains amongst my friends in my generation here in San Diego, which is the cusp of Generation X and millennials. I grew up in San Diego, which is a very military town and has never really been anything other than conservative. I guess now would be the least conservative it's ever been. Still, I think it's a little to the right of center. Even in that world growing up, when there was nothing but Denny's and strip clubs and bars and military bases, I still knew gay Marines. They were not open about it, but they were open when you knew them as people. One of the refrains my friends and I have is that refrain that comes from getting older, which is the kids today don't know. The kids that grew up with Glee will never know what it was like. Do you worry that the story of what it was like for – because there is always been family in the military, do you worry that the story will get lost of what it was like to serve with those dual pressures of the dual strains of duty and feeling like a deviant within your own military? Anthony Moll: Right, I’m of two minds here. I think one part of me – that's the reason I'm writing. I want to document that this existed, these feelings and navigating the military in this way existed for many people for a long time. I want to make sure that's documented. That we have stories to tell about what that was like. The other part of me wants it to be a non-issue, you know. The other part of me wants people to – like all of their legislative approaches to LGBTQ rights – I want it to be a non-issue. I want young people in the future to be like I don't get what the big deal was. I don't understand why this matters, right? Just want it to be full equality all the time and the ideas exclusion being a thing of the past. Justin Hudnall: On the other hand, on the other side of that, do you feel like you have educating to do with civilians about the nature of the military? You touch in your piece, this I can't believe you’re in the military reaction. Talk to me about that part of the reconciliation of expectations. Anthony Moll: Yeah, I mean it interesting to navigate this as a veteran but also as a queer veteran. I have to tell that story to people who don't get what it was like to serve under DADT or who never understood what it was, but generally I list the defense of, the explanation of, what the military is and was, and what that life is like. I think that's what a lot of my writing is doing too. A lot of the stories about the military are war stories. They want to tell about this conflict and you know this, the trip of war is hell, the trips of brotherhood. There is also this really strange, strange culture of the military and military towns and military bases and it's something that doesn't really get shared. We have some Army wives attempting to tell those stories, but it's a strange culture that the mainstream side doesn't really have access to, and so explaining that, and what it's like and how that intersects with the story of why I could not be out, or being as out as I could be. Living in barracks is different than living in dorms, and those sort of things. Justin Hudnall: Part of that strain of not being able to be out this you could be, did that follow you when you rotated out of the military? how long did it take you, if it still isn't going on, of a mental block to being fully who you feel like you are? Anthony Moll: For me, being closeted in the military, when I got out, had the opposite effect. In part, that was that I was serving the biggest LGBT rights organization in the country but part is just finally being free from that. I wear it on my sleeve now, and it was very quick for me as sort of the story begins to explain, it was really quick for me to begin wearing it on my sleeve, to really proudly say I'm a queer man and I'm a queer man who served in the military. Here's what you need to know about that. I think when you're stifled for eight years, and you're told your job is at risk when you say anything, when that disappears, you sort of go wild. An activist that's popular in the community is Dan Choi who chained himself to the White House. Some people might remember that. He talks about a similar thing being an Academy graduate and he was a first lieutenant. When he was finally out and said I'm a gay man, his life changed and he wore it then on his sleeve forward. It was his identity, being a gay man was his identity. I think I've experienced similar. My identity is being a queer person. [Transition music.] Mk 19 by Anthony Moll In the photo, you can barely tell which is which. One of us is squatting down atop a Humvee, pretending to point toward the horizon somewhere over your left shoulder. The other figure leans into the first, half emerged from the gunner’s hole in the roof of the truck, gazing toward the same vista. Both figures are clad in camouflage uniforms, both topped by turtle-shaped helmets – K-pots, we call them. We call what we are wearing Full Battle Rattle: helmet, armored vest and a mesh ammo vest over that, black gloves, black boots, olive drab gas mask attached in a carrier. We’re wearing bright green, cash green, safety glasses. I found them in a dust-covered box in the back of our storage Conex a week prior and passed them out to the other gunners in my squad. We started calling ourselves the Cash-Money gunners. This doesn’t mean anything really, not to us. Cash-Money is just something we heard on the radio. The truck, wide and squat, wears the same pattern as we do. It holds earth between the tread of its front tires, also pointed toward you. The windshield looks water-stained and dusty. Beside the figure half concealed in the truck, a gun is mounted and centered on the roof. You might miss that it is a gun; maybe to you it’s just an odd metallic attachment to the truck, an antenna perhaps. You might miss that the perfect black circle near the top of the object is a barrel pointed your way. It’s a grenade launcher, Mk 19. To us, it is used to hurl up to three hundred and seventy five 40 millimeter grenades outward toward whomever we’re told. It’s easy to miss that Danyel is the one next to the gun. You can’t tell, but she has silky brunette hair that she hides under a brown rag beneath her K-pot. The bottom half of our faces, below the glasses, is the only flesh exposed in the photo. You can almost tell that we’re smudged with dirt here. Danyel doesn’t mind; she loves to smother her clear skin with camo whenever we’re out at training events like this anyway. My hair, under the helmet, is cut in a high-and-tight, a rectangle of uniform fuzz atop an otherwise closely shaven head. You can’t see any of this though, can’t tell that she’s a woman, can’t tell that we’re both queer. You can’t tell one of us from the other. It is all blurred by the uniform: features, gender, personality, history. The purpose of camouflage isn’t to make a person disappear, but to break up the silhouette that makes the figure recognizable as a person. Look closer. Squint. When you get to the details, that’s when the illusion begins to unravel. The green, metal box attached to the gun is hollow, offering only empty space where a can of ammunition should be. There’s no driver in the driver’s seat. There’s no one in the truck at all. The figures in uniform: we’re just 19-year-old kids, fresh from working-class homes. If you look closely enough, you might see a smirk. We’re safe, playing. We don’t know yet know about America’s longest war, still hot, fresh and 3,000 miles away from us here. We don’t yet know about loss. When you squint, you see that we’re too young too, not even old enough to drink. It’s hard to tell because of how we’re dressed. Because we’re in the uniform of aggressors. Because you’re staring down the barrel of a gun. Think of how many shots like this one exist; baby-faced soldiers posed alongside the instruments of war. It’s almost always when we’re young, isn’t it? Photos from our first tour, photos from Basic Training. Before the newness of the experience wears off. When we are still full of pride, proud to be on our own, away from working-class homes, fighting for something we think we believe in. We’re excited about new challenges. Excited about new toys. Excited to be soldiers, something different than before, anything but kids from Reno, kids from Gary. [Transition music.] Justin Hudnall: Do you feel any solidarity between the movement to repeal don't ask don't tell and fully openly integrate gay service members in with what's going on right now with the struggle to integrate women more into combat roles and frontline positions? The reason I ask, I remember several of the female contributors to this program and talked about the policy of not putting women in combat roles and the hypocrisy, because they are in combat roles, right? If they are in a convoy, if they are a mechanic, it doesn't matter what their MOS is. If somebody shooting or if the 50 Cal is open, they're going to get on. I wonder if you feel any kind of overlap there. Anthony Moll: Yeah, absolutely. When I was serving, I served in dog handling at the time. It's changed now, but the dog handling at the time was exclusively a program of the military police corps. The military police corps I think until recently was the closest that a woman could serve in combat arms roles. At least transparently combat arms roles, and so a lot of my experience were women who had served on the frontline who had been shot, and been shot at, who had combat arms, combat infantry badges, or rather, combat action badges. They had already served. The story now, I think the narrative now that the mainstream media is attempting to paint is that women will finally serve in combat, but I think like you mentioned, I think the story is that women will finally be recognized for serving in combat. They’ll finally have full access to the jobs they want to have in the military. I think there is a solidarity just from being told no, having policies that stand against you, seeing policies that stand against other people and having a solidarity there. So, it's true, particularly of women in combat roles, but it's also true for me. I think a lot of people thought don't ask don't tell was the end of the fight, and the organizations like the military partner organization and service members Legal Defense Network, they’re continuing the fight because transgender Americans are still kept from serving openly in the military and so in the last few months, we got some traction that it's finally being repealed. I've seen backward solidarity too, among LGB service members, among trans service members and Trans Americans who want to serve and among women who have served and who will serve and who are serving. Justin Hudnall: What advice would you give to a self identified queer person who came and talked to you about wanting to join the military now? Anthony Moll: That question is a really tough one for me. Always is for any person who wants to join the military. I don't know that I believe in what the US military has been asked to do over the last 20 years and so I don't know that I believe in that service being unstained. Justin Hudnall: Can you define that a little bit more, In that do you mean in terms of it having more of a police role? Anthony Moll: So, I think some of my writing deals with the fact that I serve to respond to the September 11 attacks like a lot of service members of the period. When that was shifted to the fight in Iraq, the feeling really soured that we were being asked to do something that we felt like the majority of Americans didn't want. That was not where we should be focusing. As a service member, we just go do what we are asked, but you still have all these feelings about being asked. The war in Iraq was in particular the first step for me. Yeah, as the colonizing force, some of the really ugly things that service members have done since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – those sorts of things have really shifted my perspective on the military, and on service. On the same note, I can't honestly say that I think it's a bad idea for someone who is in my role, a young working-class queer, to join the military because it transformed my life. The discipline, leadership, and the opportunity that I was given by service. Service members joke about people who join for the benefits, for education benefits, or for medical benefits. I think a great many people who join for those reasons and so for me I was able to get 2 bachelors and then a Masters from studying while I was in and then from the G.I. bill afterwards. On so many levels, service in the military has transformed my life and so I have really mixed feelings when people ask me about joining the military and what it's like and should they or shouldn't they. I'm an educator now at a university and so I've had more than one 18, 19-year-old student come up and ask me what I thought about military service. I've got to give them these complicated answers because it's not clear-cut for me anymore, not the way it was when I was joining the military at 18. Justin Hudnall: For our last question, this is something I ask every contributor to that show and it's the flip of the one you just answered. If somebody were to come to you who is in the military who's got two weeks left in before they rotate out, you could give him one piece of advice about transitioning back to civilian life, what would it be? Anthony Moll: It would have to be about careers. It would have to be what you have lined up, because separating service members are given mixed signals about what it's like on the outside and what the job market’s like outside of the military. They're often told it's no good, it's bad, stay in, it's going to be hard times and a lot of service members take that with a grain of salt because they worry that this is just a retention ploy. They're telling me this so I don't get out of the military but it can be. The job hunt after the military can be really difficult and it can be really disheartening, too. I write a little bit in the story that I read for you, that I went from feeling like a superhero my last year in to being an intern my first year out. That can cause some emotional, intellectual hardship. Really think about what next for you and what are your concrete steps into your next career or your next plan or your program of study or whatever it's going to be after the military. Think completely and concretely about those next steps. #01:01:23-0# Justin Hudnall: Anthony Moll, thanks so much for being on Incoming. Anthony Moll: Thank you for having me. Justin Hudnall: That was Anthony Moll, and that is our show. Incoming in produced by myself, Justin Hudnall. Our composer and musicians on this episode were Chris Warren, Arianna Warren, Kris Apple, and Sol Jorge Moscow. Thomas Torres is our assistant editor and Ikoi Hiroe provides transcription In the studio, Kurt Koenig is our audio engineer, Emily Jankowski is our studio tech Nate John is our web editor And John Decker is the Director upon which all Productions hinge. Special thanks to WYPR in Baltimore for helping us talk with Anthony. And a huge congratulations to all the women in the military celebrating this week’s decision to open up of combat roles—-officially—-to all service members. We here know y’all have been fighting a very long time. And to all you out there, listen up: we want to hear your thoughts, or if you have a story or know someone who does, e-mail us at, or check us out online at Thanks for listening, let’s talk again soon.

This episode comprises two stories and a talk with Anthony Moll, now a lecturer at the University of Baltimore, formerly with the U.S. Army Military Police K9 Section, among other assignments. One of those other assignments included serving as a trainer for the military’s "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DODT) policy. Anthony identifies as queer and has since before he joined the Army. With the unique perspective as one of the last generations to serve, if not completely in the closet, then with much judicial weight placed on how out they could be, Anthony shares his story.

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