West Point grads fight to oust anti-gay policy

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A group of West Point alumni formed the Knights Out organization aimed at changing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which was designed to discourage homosexual soldiers from coming out.

"People shouldn't have to lie as a condition for serving their country," says Becky Kanis, a 1991 West Point graduate.

Kanis says she was forced to lie about her sexual orientation during her time as a cadet and while serving in the Army for nine years. Since then, she joined Knights Out to support her fellow alumni and current West Point cadets who are afraid to openly discuss their sexuality.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has been in effect since 1993, and members of Knights Out say it does not serve the military's best interests by forcing soldiers to lie.

"A lot of West Point graduates are stepping forward to say, 'I'm gay, I'm lesbian, here's the truth of my experience,'" Kanis says. "And we think that that's a powerful addition to the chorus of other groups that are fighting for this basic civil right."

Kanis is expected to attend the academy's 10th annual Diversity Leadership Conference, although West Point does not recognize the newly formed group.

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