July 6th is the anniversary of the murder of PFC Barry Winchell. If your memory is fuzzy on this, let me tell you the story. In 1994 the Clinton Administration passed the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell legislation into law. The law banned openly gay people from serving in the military but allowed closeted men and woman to serve.
Barry Winchell had been relocated to Fort Campbell Kentucky. One day Barry received a Dear John letter from his long time girlfriend. Barry was visibly broken hearted by the bad news, and SPC. Justin Fisher invited Barry along on a road trip to hit the bars in Nashville. Barry went.
One of the bars they visited that night was a bar called The Connection, a venue that featured transgendered performers. While there, Barry hit it off with one of the dancers, a man in the process transitioning into a woman. The couple began dating regularly.
Barry’s “friend” Justin Fisher began spreading rumors about Barry being gay around the base. Barry’s fellow troops began to harass him regularly. Sadly, Barry Fisher had no recourse because if he complained to his superiors about the harassment he himself would be punished and discharged from the Army.
One day while drinking some beers in their leisure time, Barry got into a fight with fellow soldier Calvin Glover. Barry quickly defeated Calvin Glover and Justin Fisher began teasing Glover about being beaten by a “faggot”. Glover took a baseball bat from Justin Fisher’s locker and beat Barry Winchell to death with it.
Barry Winchell’s death forced a review of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Calvin Glover was sentenced to life in prison. Justin Fisher received a lesser sentence and was released in 2006.