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Major Alan Rogers – the Rest of the Story

Timothy Kincaid

July 29th, 2008

rogers.jpg In March we learned of the death of Army Maj. Alan G. Rogers, a man praised by the Pentagon and lauded in the Washington Post and on MSNBC. And we observed the mainstream media try to hide the truth of Maj. Rogers’ life, that he was a gay man actively working to reverse the ban on openly gay servicepersons. Then we read as the Post’s ombudsman chided the paper for the deletion (unknowing that she was leaving out facts of her own).

We even saw how some friends and distant family angrily tried to hide or deny his orientation and how someone at the Pentagon attempted to change information in Rogers’ Wikipedia entry.

Now the New Yorker has an 8 page article detailing Rogers’ life and laying rest to any rumors or misunderstandings. It is well worth reading.

Deputy Secretary England attended a memorial service at the Pentagon, where Thomas Gandy, a director of counterintelligence and human intelligence, hailed Rogers as “simply the most talented officer I ever had the opportunity to serve with,” and described his selflessness in taking wounded veterans at Walter Reed hospital to a Super Bowl party on a nearby base. “There was something special about Alan Rogers,” Lieutenant General John F. Kimmons, the deputy chief of staff for Army Intelligence, said. “He was more than he seemed.”

And indeed he was.

And there was much more behind the story of efforts to hide his orientation. The New Yorker did not find malice or a conspiracy, but the type of well-intentioned homophobia that assumes that a hiding one’s orientation protects a reputation.

Rogers was both more secretive and more honest than many of those who knew him really wanted to believe about him. He was a brave man, a good man, a loving man, and the embodiment of the evidence that those who seek to keep this discriminatory ban operate from a base of foolishness, ignorance and bigotry.

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Sportin' Life
July 29th, 2008 | LINK

Very powerful story. Thank you for the link.

Jason Cianciotto
July 30th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

Thank you for the follow-up on Alan. I was struck by how raw my grief still is about the loss of my friend and I’m grateful that the New Yorker has helped to draw attention to his incredible life and the multiple identities he juggled throughout his journey.

When Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is overturned, I will take a moment in private to toast my dear friend who chose to give his life for his country.

The last time I saw Alan in the summer of 2007, I am convinced that he knew this assignment could be his last. I treasure the time we had together that summer weekend. We ate brunch during a beautiful morning sitting outside at the intersection of 48th St. and 9the Ave. in NYC, followed by a wonderfully emotional experience at a performance of the musical, The Color Purple.

We both shed tears and lent our voices of praise to Fantasia as she sang the final notes to the signature song in the show, “I’m beautiful and I’m here.” Alan was beautiful – his love touched so many people during the time he was here and I will be forever grateful for the time I had with him.

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