A Woman Leaving West Point

The service academies really aren’t all that central to my dissertation (not that they’re unimportant), but since my time at West Point this summer I’ve developed more than a passing interest in the topic of women at West Point. And it was ironic for me that the news about Cadet Katherine Miller’s resignation request over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) came out the same week that I was rereading Lance Janda’s Stronger than Custom: West Point and the Admission of Women and writing about women’s admission to the academies in one of my chapters.

I caught the story before the AP picked it up. The gist of it is that Cadet Miller – ranked NINTH in the rising Cow class (or third/junior year) of 1,100 students – has come out as a lesbian and requests to resign. She’s been accepted for a transfer to Yale this fall. (The resignation letter is supposedly here.)

Even more interesting than the news stories, however, are the actual blog posts Miller wrote about her experiences this summer (anonymously).

Let’s face it: is Miller the first homosexual cadet at West Point? Absolutely not. In fact, one of the commenters on her third blog post claims to be a 2006 West Pointer who is also a lesbian. And actually, there’s an entire group for West Point grads which provides support for LGBT soldiers – members include gay and straight grads, faculty, and staff. (And Dan Choi, one of the faces of the fights against DADT right now, is a member of that group.)

But Miller does seem to be the first cadet to step forward and reveal her sexuality like this. It’s a gutsy decision, and I applaud her. It’s especially gutsy considering that the AP articles note it’ll take a week for her request to be reviewed.

In her blog posts this summer and in her resignation letter, she wrote about the sexual harassment she already encountered as a woman at West Point. The school year’s just about to heat up there and cadets are already arriving on campus. I wonder what sort of atmosphere she’s encountering now.


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