By Debbie Gregory.
Brett Jones was born into a military family, spending his childhood traveling around the world. He continued the tradition through service as a Navy SEAL, all the while knowing he was gay. Jones served during the era of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy that prohibited discrimination against gay service members but also barred them from disclosing their sexuality.
For years, Jones lived this double life, holding his secret so close that even his SEAL teammates, who were his closest friends, never knew. His lover, a Navy sailor, was referred to as his roommate.
Jones accidentally outed himself when he left an “I love you” phone message for his lover. A woman in the same office as Jones’ boyfriend heard the message and reported it up the Navy’s chain of command.
There was an investigation, which was eventually dropped. But in 2003, Jones decided to get out of the Navy. He felt that too many people knew he was gay, and it would have been a matter of time before they found another way to try and dishonorably discharge me.
But this story has a happy ending. More than a decade later, Jones, now with a husband and son, decided to break his silence to the world about his sexuality The first openly gay SEAL has built a new life with this family, the one that has replaced the two families he lost — the family that raised him and the one he built with fellow SEALs.
Jones said writing his self-published his memoir, “Pride: The Story of the First Openly Gay Navy SEAL” helped heal the pain of the scorn and rejection he experienced.
“I’ve known that I’ve been gay since I was probably about six years old,” he says. “I knew going in [to the Navy] that I was going to have to do a lot of lying.” But the time finally came to tell the truth.
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Gay Navy SEAL Tells His Story: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory