Hair Snip #2

Ok ok, I know I mentioned last time that I was going to stop responding to people reacting to my hair/uniform and automatically assuming I am a man. I said I was going to stop correcting them….

But it happened again today.

I was helping out old civilian male today, prior enlisted. We had a whole conversation, and while I may look male at a glance, my voice is not male sounding. So when he said “Thank you Sir” as he walked away, I once again said “M’aam” without thinking. I don’t know if he caught it, I turned away as I said it.

But there is a shining angel in all of this. Another civlian, female, caught it. She looked at me disbelievingly.

“Did he just…” she trailed.

“Yep. Happens all the time. They see the short hair and uniform, and they just assume.”

“Girl, that guy is fucking nuts” she exclaimed.

I felt really validated. I’ve been working closely with OSSN Twilight who’ve I’ve mentioned here and here before, and when it happened he was straining to repress a smile.

So at the top of my page you will now see this image:

As it increases, you will know that another incident happened. I’ll document them, and when there is a substantial amount I will make a post describing them.

Oy vey.

edit: Yep, It’s already increased since I scheduled this post. Oops!

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DADT: An insider look (Happy Anniversary!)

In my call for content post fellow blogger Melanie of the Deliberate Donkey blog posed me with the following question:

“It’s been a year since the DADT repeal. I know you’ve touched on it and how important that repeal was to you. Does it still linger? Do you find that there are people who refuse to agree it’s over? Do others still hide their selves for fear the DADT repeal was paper-only and offered no real protection?”

So I’ve decided to cover that. I have spoken about it briefly before, so check here to see that initial post.

Alright. I was underway throughout the whole time that DADT was becoming a news item. To my detriment, I was also not every interested in politics at the time so the first inkling I had about the whole situation was when there was a command-wide training about it. They broke it up by rank. Officers firsts, Senior Enlisted (E7-E9) then E6, E5, E4, and E3 and below. I was somewhere in between the E6-E4 briefs.

At this point I was married and everyone assumed I was straight. I was known to be gay friendly, as I was close friends with many of the out gay people on board, but otherwise no sideways glances were tossed my way. Continue reading

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Skeptical of Victims: My Shame (3 of 3)

Disclaimer: please let me know if I use any strange jargon/slang that isn’t listed on the page and I will correct it.

This is part three of a series. Read part one here. And here is part two.

Ah finally. The last installment. Let me tell you all now, this has been a tremendous journey for me. Admitting, writing, recollecting… Reliving these memories have been taxing. I have to thank my girlfriend for reading them over and proofreading because out of everything I’ve posted yet far these have been the most draining.

I have been wrong in all three cases. And in this last one, the most I think.

After the previous two incidents had happened I sort of tucked them away in my memory, never to be accessed again. I didn’t even consider them all together until I started this blog. So please, bear with me as I tell you my final shame.

On my ship there were very few female engineers. In my particular rating I was the only one for a very long time. I had become the WCS (work center supervisor) when we suddenly got a slew of new booters into my shop, two women, two men.

My focus is on one of the females. She was 18, straight out of high school. I got to know her very slowly. From the beginning everyone would tell me that my new fireman was a bitch. Everyone said she was horrible to them… except to people with rank. I never saw the bad side of her. Perhaps it was true, they told me she pandered to me because I was the WCS and over her. I began training her to take my place as WCS when I left because we had no Second classes onboard in our rate, and she was a push-button third (Means you get third fairly quickly out of bootcamp)

The day after she had arrived on board people were already telling me she was sleeping around. And it continued to escalate. I never saw the mean side of her, but eventually I did see something that made me begin to believe that she was, perhaps, sleeping around.

What goes on behind closed hatches…

There was a man onboard who was a notorious womanizer. The type of guy the new girls get warned about. And one night, on a late watch, I saw her enter a space where only people of his rating were allowed to enter (it had a cipher lock) and I saw her enter right behind him. I shook my head, and wrote it off as her business, not mine.

Eventually it had to become my business. My LPO had me take her aside and talk to her. Apparently word was getting out all over that she had been sleeping around with several men onboard. Now, who and how many people you have sex with is only your business and theirs, but it’s a big NONO to have any sort of relations on board the vessel. And we were on deployment to boot. I took her aside, told her what was going on, and watched her as she cried. Told her that whatever was going on, she had to keep it under better wraps, and that we better not hear more about it.

Then it happened. Continue reading

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Skeptical of Victims: My Shame (2 of 3)

Disclaimer: please let me know if I use any strange jargon/slang that isn’t listed on the page and I will correct it.

Disclaimer disclaimer: Rates and names have been changed.

This is part two of a series. Read part one here.

After that initial circumstance in boot camp everything was quiet for a while, despite the sexism I encountered on board my first ship.

On the way home from my first deployment the Captain decided to take a dip past the equator to have the ship participate in “Wog Day”.

Now when a ship is out to sea we still get new sailors. They get flown in on helicopters, deposited on our flight deck, blood boiling from the high energy of the flight and being so far away from home. The day before our scheduled ‘Wog Day’ we had a new female Engineer alight on board. Her name is Susanna.

Wogs? Not on my watch!

Everyone was already pissed at her. Here we are, sitting like ducks in a pond for months doing our duty at sea. We’ve earned this Wog Day. Because she landed inboard a day before it was to happen she is entitled to participate and become a shellback after the ceremony.

The junior enlisted males and females are livid at this.

She participates in the ceremony and gets her certificate like the rest of us. The last few months home everyone gives her the side glance and no one really makes friends with her.

And then! Home Port! Oh man, if you’re not military… coming back to home port after a 7-10 month deployment is similar to being a 6 year old on a sugar high in Disney World. Nothing can stop you, everything is great, and life is finally certain.

After the POM period everyone crawls back on board bitching. Except Susanna. Susanna is mysteriously gone. At that point we’re about 15 females on board. Yet… one of the racks is empty. Susanna’s rack. Now despite being universally despised, a sailor doesn’t just disappear like this. You begin to wonder. My mild inquiries came out with the following:

During POM period Susanna went out with a group of males from the boat. They all got drunk, and ran a train on her. She reported the incident.

Bad, right?

It is my undying shame the rest of us 14 females immediately victim blamed. Susanna was a whore. She had it coming. She flirted with the 3-4 accused guys all the time. She probably just regretted it. Who was she kidding? Now she’s just upset that word got out. The list went on.

The case never went anywhere. Susanna had been moved to another ship, and the guys in question stayed on board. The case was supposedly restricted, so no other clues came out.

Filthy Wogs

So Susanna was gone, the offenders still on board. I wonder now still that if Susanna had been Sean instead, come on board at the wrong time, would he have been looked down upon the same? Or would he have been a lucky sonnava bitch for getting on board right before Wog Day…?  Would we have believed her claim more if she hadn’t been disliked immediately because her helicopter came at the time it did?

Read Part Three here

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Hair Snip

So I’ve decided to give “Hair” it’s own category as I’ll be in the military for the foreseeable future, and barring any new regulations my hair will stay just as short.

Recently at work, OSSN Twilight and myself were lugging around some heavy carts full of supplies. We came across a civilian female. OSSN Twilight was ahead of me and she encountered him first.

Civlian: Oh, Navy! We don’t see you guys around enough! Let me help you [by opening the door]”

At that moment Twilight moved out of the way and she caught a glimpse of me.

Civilian: “Good afternoon Sir!”

Sigh. Cue me:

FM: I’m a girl… [under my breath]

She proceeded ahead of us to open the doors. As I passed her she said:

Civilian: You guys take care now!

FM: Still a girl… [louder]

In a funnier note, one of her coworkers caught the whole exchange with my quiet replies and her mortified face as we left the room was pretty entertaining.

EDIT:

I wrote this post ahead of time but today I got called Sir by three different Civilians! Three! This is unprecedented! After each time I just said “Actually, it’s M’aam” and just slid away, but I think from now on I’m going to just let it slide completely and see if they ever notice on their own.

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Call for Content!

So now that my blog has been up a few weeks I’ve decided that my posting schedule will be M-F, at 1100 (EST).

I would like something from those of you out there. I have a lot of stories still to tell, but I would like to intersperse them with other content.

If you have anything you would specifically like me to cover, leave a comment with a description. If you have any questions, do the same. If you know someone, or you are someone in the military who has a story to tell about inequality, please share.

My blog is from my perception as a cisgendered, lesbian, white female… But I would like my blog to encompass everything that isn’t right in the military. If you would like to contribute a guest post to my blog, please email me at unequalseas@gmail.com, or just leave a comment. I have a few coworkers who are cisgendered, straight, and not white. I’m trying to coerce them into sharing some of their stories, but until then, if you have anything about race, gender, or general inequality… share with us!

Correcting the wrongs in the military will take some time. But sharing stories and thoughts is one small step to a big solution.

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Military Training Instructor Receives 20-year Sentence

This News Article sort of flew under my radar.

I have mentioned before I am in a training status. I remember sometime back in July we had a counseling session because a military instructor was found guilty of rape and sexual assault. My training command works near Army and Air Force Installations, and sometimes we intermingle so it was brought up even though the offender was Air Force. They just glossed over the actual incident, and just reiterated that we, as students, need to be on the alert in cases like this.

Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, the alleged rapist.

Continue reading

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