Cameras were not permitted inside the guard office as Benson tried to enlist. Benson said she was rejected because of her sexual orientation, but a guard representative said Benson was turned away because of her weight.While Benson disputed the reason given by the Guard for her rejection, WTHR's report backs up the Guard's account. "Eyewitness News obtained a copy of the recruiter interview sheet where it indicates a person's height and weight is asked well before the applicant's marital status, WTHR reported." If it's any consolation to Benson, Lt. Col. Deedra Thombleson, who told Cox that Benson was rejected because she was overweight, appeared significantly overweight as well.
"I spoke with our recruiters, and she was rejected based on physical conditioning and not meeting the height-weight policy to enter into the Indiana National Guard," said Lt. Col. Deedra Thombleson.
"I was specifically told by the recruiter that I was rejected according to the policy and having outed myself because of my sexual orientation," Benson said.
Thombleson said the gender issue did not come up in the discussion. One of the recruiters later clarified that Benson brought it up herself after her application had already been rejected over the physical condition issue.
Benson said she was prepared to be arrested. Police said they won't arrest her as long as she is outside the door and isn't blocking it.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Lesbian's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Protest Misfires
Julie Benson arrived at an Indiana National Guard recruiting office with a gaggle of reporters to test the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from serving in the military. Benson, a lesbian, expected to have her application rejected because of her sexual orientation. Instead, the Guard's recruiting office rejected her application because she is overweight. WRTV's Norm Cox reports: