Document Type



29 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 319 (1994) (with David D. Cole)


Navy Lieutenant Richard Dirk Selland found himself "in a situation resembling that of a sparrow caught in a badminton game." As a closeted gay man in 1992, Selland was disturbed by shipmate kidding that he was probably a "homosexual." The taunts escalated when the Democrats' presidential nominee, Bill Clinton, promised to end the military's exclusion of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals. Selland's internal turmoil impelled him to seek counseling from the ship's chaplain. On the day after Clinton's inauguration as President, the chaplain and Selland met with the ship's commanding officer, and Selland admitted that he was "homosexual" in orientation. Under the military policy then in effect, Selland was unfit to serve: the policy held that homosexuality was incompatible with military service, and flatly forbade homosexuals from serving in the military. Selland's commander immediately removed him from his position.

Date of Authorship for this Version


Included in

Law Commons