A gay sailor who served under fired Navy Capt. Owen Honors is speaking out in support of his former captain. On Tuesday, Honors was relieved after starring in and distributing a series of slapstick videos featuring glay slurs, masturbation jokes and a pretend rectal exam. Repeatedly, Honors used the term "fag SWO boy" referring to the Surface Warfare Office (SWO). When The Virginian-Pilot newspaper published the videos, gay rights groups such as the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network slammed Honors, calling him a "frat house president" who "has no place in the Navy."
Now Eric Prenger, a gay sailor who served under Honors in 2006 and 2007, is defending the embattled captain. On Thursday, He spoke to The Atlantic's Josh Green:
I have been making contact with many of my fellow gay service members that served aboard that time as well, in hopes that we can get the word out there that Capt. Honors never created an anti-gay work environment and that these slanders of calling him a homophobe and gay-basher are unjust...
In all honesty, do Americans really want a military full of men and women who's first reaction to a harsh word or off-colored joke to go running to mama crying? ... Before you know it they'll be administering sensitivity training on the polite and politically correct way of killing the enemy.
Additionally, Prenger includes a letter he wrote to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, criticizing their stance against Honors:
By making statements against him your organization has become a participant in the action that so many gay men and women face every day in the service, harsh and uninformed judgment.
In your hasty remarks against Capt. Honors, you forget those videos were for the eyes of USS ENTERPRISE sailors only. You are condemning a man on events that have happened over four years ago.
Every gay man or woman that has joined the military has done so knowing that they weren't walking into an environment that would be appealing to their sense of delicacy. Sexual orientation aside, every man or woman joining the military does so with the knowledge that the only way to get through is with tough skin.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.