Todd Belok, the George Washington University freshman who was kicked out of the university’s ROTC program after two of his fellow program members reported him as gay, has receiving nothing but love from fellow students, community members, and ex-militaries since his story was published in the Hatchet earlier this month. The two fellow ROTC students who outed Belok to their superiors after they witnessed him kissing a male “special friend” in the basement of a fraternity last year haven’t fared so well:
In the days after Belok’s story was published, freshman Dave Perry, one of the two students who reported Belok to his superiors, received several hateful e-mails and Facebook messages, according to a member of the unit who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Perry declined to comment on the situation, as did Nick Trimis, the other student who reported Belok.
Trimis is the student who wrote the fateful ROTC Performance Review Report that put the “tell” in “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” for Belok:
“In the basement of Beta Theta Pi, MIDN Belok introduced me to another male, who he referred to as his ’special friend,’ ” Trimis wrote in the Performance Review Board report. “Within five minutes of this introduction, I witnessed MIDN Belok kissing this individual on the lips. I decided I needed to leave after this encounter.”
It’s terrible that Belok—from all accounts, a model ROTC recruit—has been denied military service on the basis of his sexual orientation. But I feel for his fellow ROTC members, too. Two Freshmen guys arrive at college for the first time. They witness what may be the first homosexual act they’ve ever seen. Then, probably scared out of their minds by ROTC’s policy on gays, they choose to follow orders instead of concealing another member’s secret. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” affects more than just gays; it creates a culture of fear for all servicemen who are forced to out their fellow recruits in order to avoid the possibility of being reprimanded for letting it slide.