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Robaire Watson
(? - living) U.S.A.

Robaire Watson

Navy veteran


Robaire is the middle child of a nominally Southern Baptist Texas family. His grandfather had served in the Army in World War I. He was in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, played high school football, and was into cars and music. He said he always knew he was gay.

He grew up in a primarily white small Texas town of 5000, went to school, graduated, and never encountered racism. Apparently everyone knew he was gay, as well, according to his parent's totally unsurprised and loving reaction when he came out to them.

After high school, he earned money for college by working in the oil fields. He studied design and fashion merchandising in Dallas at Wades School of Design, North Texas State University, and Odessa College. He wanted to see the world, however, and like many young men he wanted to get a bit further away from home. He joined the US Navy in 1989 and served six years through two enlistments until 1995.

Robaire was a US Navy Ship's barber who served aboard the USS Kansas as it traveled the seas promoting freedom during the Gulf War and Operation Southern Watch-off the coast of Somalia in 1993, traveling to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Dubai, Jebel Ali, UAE, British Columbia, Mexico, and the Philippines during his two enlistments. He is black and openly gay and never encountered the slightest discrimination aboard his warship.

During the early 1990s, there was an expectation in the military that President Clinton would issue an executive order allowing gay and lesbian patriots to serve openly. It did not happen, but in many commands there had been a preparedness to enable those who did their jobs well to be able to serve without discrimination.

Petty Officer Watson and many others benefited from that brief bubble in time when some commands demonstrated that they could make it happen without difficulty. When the Don't Ask Don't Tell law was passed, his shipmates told him, "Watson, we don't have to ask and we don't have to tell."

"I'm very fortunate that I was able to be openly gay and live my life accordingly during active duty," he said, "I want other men and women who enter the armed forces who are gay to be able to live their lives just as openly as their straight counterparts and when they become veterans to be treated with dignity and respect."

"In the Navy," he said, "I got the chance to see the world; to learn about American diversity by living and working with Americans from all walks of life; I learned to deal with those with attitude, and how to be in charge of my own space as well as guiding others; it taught me responsibility. I'm very proud to have done my duty serving my country."

But, he is outraged that so many profoundly physically and emotionally injured vets are simply neglected and are allowed to disappear; only getting a fleeting burst of media attention if they commit murder or are murdered. He has seen others try to commit suicide in despair simply because they were about to be discharged from the military for being gay.

And yet, when he returned to civilian life, he was on his own. He's a resilient guy; he eventually found his way in administration and design work.


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