Crowston comes out


[HTML1]Proposing call signs like “Fagmeister” and “Gay Boy” — and the winner, “Romo’s bitch” — one can only assume that at least a few of Lt. Steve Crowston’s fellow officers in Strike Fighter Squadron 136 felt pretty sure the unit’s administrative/legal officer and avid Dallas Cowboys fan was a homosexual. But Crowston, who filed multiple inspector general complaints over what he regarded as anti-gay hazing in the unit, had steadfastly refused to acknowledge his sexual preference, saying it was irrelevant and that his concern was over inappropriate workplace hazing.

Tuesday evening, on the 6 p.m. newscast of Norfolk’s WAVY-TV, with the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy no longer in effect, Crowston came out. “I’ve been in 17 years, livin’ a lie, hiding who I really am, said Crowston (1:52 on the video), interviewed at a downtown Norfolk celebration of the end of the policy’s demise Tuesday. “People have suspected through the years, but I couldn’t come out. Now, I have that choice, without losing my career over it.”

Crowston’s complaints, first voiced following an August 2009 call sign meeting attended by his CO and XO, eventually found their mark. In July, the Navy announced that the very recently retired Cmdr. Liam Bruen, the former CO, had been censured by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus — this after being removed from his post-command job as operations officer on the carrier John C. Stennis. The former XO and current CO, Cmdr. Damien Christopher, wasn’t cited by Mabus but received two formal counselings from senior commanders and an unspecified letter of admonition. He was allowed to remain in command, with officials citing superior performance while in command.

Steve Crowston, at Naval Air Station Oceana. // Navy Times

Bruen and Christopher both took issue with the punishments. Bruen said he felt the Naval IG interpreted the Navy’s Equal Opportunity policy too broadly in saying he’d condoned hazing by allowing the call sign meeting to continue, even though he called a subsequent all-officers meeting at which he vowed to provide a command environment “free from hostility and marginalization.” Christopher said the IG used “flawed legal analysis” to impose a “new standard” under the Navy’s hazing policy upon him. Christopher also told Navy Times that the Naval IG’s findings are under review by the Department of Defense IG.

Crowston, now the administrative officer for the Naval Ocean Processing Facility at Dam Neck Annex, told Navy Times Wednesday night that he feels a great sense of relief that the policy has been eliminated and that he’s no longer in the position of “living a lie.”

“It’s such a relief to know that the silent knife that could stab you at any moment and cause you to lose your career in the military is no longer there!” he wrote. But while the policy is gone, there are battles ahead within the ranks, he told WAVY-TV.

“There’s still gonna be homophobia,” Crowston said. “There’s still gonna be bigots. There’s still gonna be people who, you know, are gonna judge you, now that you can declare who you are.”


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  1. So now everyone and everything has to be catered to the sensitivities and demands of gay’s and, shortly, the “significant others”. Base housing and full NEX and commissary privileges are next. I hope reason and common sense prevail in future DoD/CNO decisions in regard to this change, and there is no total PC absolution to their demands.

  2. He was a former chief, that ought to tell you something. The sense of entitlement comes from the holier than thou chiefs mess and all its overrated members.

  3. I think the article I read on Early Bird a couple months ago said it best: “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t care, don’t matter.”

    Nobody cared BEFORE it was repealed, and for the most part, nobody cares now that it HAS been repealed. All the gays that are coming out are now saying stuff to the effect of, “I can be free to no longer live a lie!”

    Contrary to popular belief, not putting information out into the view of others isn’t lying. Stop being so freaking dramatic, it’s not a big deal.

  4. @Hoop – What, are you going to beat Joe up through the comments page because he insulted your anchor? You matter only in your own mind.

    As for the repeal, who cares? But don’t make somebody that has religious beliefs against this that they have to like it. As for this idiot he did not have to sign up under don’t ask don’t tell. It seems to me he is like the government contractor that signs a contract and then as soon as he has the job he wants the contract changed. Look at how glbt act in the civilian world, and get ready for the gay pride parade on base. Next thing you know there will be a rainbow flag flying below the national ensign on every base. Hoop, are you going to beat that up, too?

  5. Why all the hating on the Chief’s mess??? There are dirtbags in EVERY rank, but the majority of Chief’s try their best to do what is right for thier shipmates. Maybe some of this hating is because you were held accountable in your job by a Chief? Or, you can’t make Cheif yourself? Regardless, the comments are juvenile and reek of bitterness. Besides, this article is not about Chiefs, it is about dadt.

  6. Repeal of DADT doesn’t mean you HAVE to tell my your sexual preference.

    Frankly – I’d rather not know. Just do your damn job.

  7. I find it ironic that they are celebrating the demise of the very program that allowed them to serve in the first place. DADT was not the evil program that had it out for them, it was only way they were allowed to serve. Now the services don’t care about your preference. That’s it. I don’t need you to flaunt your sexuality in front of me; I need you to do your job. In the end it’s about completing the mission, then going home to those you care about, the rest is irrelevant.
    As far as this guy, I see someone who was living a lie (self-admitted), and when he saw an opportunity to abuse the system in his favor, he exploited it. I have no doubt that they would have come up with those names for him, for crying out loud, in the this article, he’s wearing a Cowboys shirt with Romo’s number on it. He was known for flaunting Cowboys pride, and even wore a Cowboys Santa Hat while in uniform.
    Speaking of a can of worms, I think the Navy is in a difficult position with this guy; his future CO’s will have the burden of determining if they can tell the truth on his FITREP without fear of reprisal from HIM. He admitted to filing multiple inspector general complaints over what he regarded as anti-gay hazing. Re-read that statement. He continued to file them until he got his way. This is the very thing that makes it hard for leaders to lead. If they are worried about hurting the feelings of the personnel under them, how will they be able to make the daily decisions that affect and possibly save the lives of those that are placed in their charge? From what I’ve read in the Navy Times articles, he didn’t speak up during the actual call-sign meeting; it was only after the meeting that he approached the CO. If you are offended by a statement, you have to address it when it happens, not after the fact; ever hear of the term ‘tacit approval’? In that way, it’s just like sexual harassment. You let people know you are offended by what is happening, and if at that point it continues, then you have a leg to stand on. You can’t expect and environment where nobody is EVER confronted with something that they find offensive, unless you live in solitude.
    I’m rambling on, but hopefully someone will see this a little clearer

  8. Joe must have been awfully traumetized by the chiefs in his command for hatin’ like dat. I dont know about the sense of entitelment he talks of, but the chiefs i have worked with and known are the finest professionals in the navy. I dont know about Crowston, but if he was a former chief why did he just not confront the officers himself, instead of raising the flag?

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