Honor + Service in the US Air Force: Lt. Col. Leslie Bryant

In honor of all our brave veterans who’ve served this country, we wanted to share an incredible story that came to us via a letter from one of our customers—retired Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Bryant of the United States Air Force. Leslie’s story brought tears to our eyes as we read her story of unrelenting patriotism, as well as the trials and tribulations she went through as a gay woman serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. We’re deeply moved by Leslie’s incredible bravery, and so grateful to her for sharing her experience with the TomboyX community.

I am a United States veteran. I am proud to have served 28 years in the best Air Force and Armed Forces in the world. I grew up in a patriotic family where my father had served in the US Navy during the Korean War and instilled the belief that our country always came first.

This Veterans Day, I celebrate having found my true selfI entered the United States Armed Forces out of patriotism and love of country after having been interned at age eight in an oil company camp for six months and at age nine under house arrest with martial law for six months. I was repeatedly under armed guard with guns pointed at me, subjected to seeing military aircraft, tanks and soldiers roaming the streets and skies and firing indiscriminately, saw the crosses torn down in my church on a Sunday and was held numerous times at gunpoint for four to eight hours for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As an American, I had no human rights or rights of any kind. I never wanted to see another American go through that.

Lieutenant Colonel Leslie BryantSeveral years into my military nursing career, I realized I was gay. I suppressed my sexuality and never acted on being gay for 28 years of military service. The 1980s and 1990s during which all the military services conducted purges, essentially rounding up suspected gays for further investigation, interrogation, a confession, and discharge were terrifying. It took little for gays to be rounded up and usually just based on gossip, rumor, innuendo. Being gay meant serious consequences including a Dishonorable Discharge, a ruined reputation whether you were gay or not and your ability to get a job if Dishonorably Discharged was ruined. Nobody getting a Dishonorable Discharge could get a living wage job, if any job, at all in the civilian community. I survived and avoided purges by moving to three different career fields, predominately male with few females, policing, forensics and intelligence. Although I never acted on being gay, I always feared being accused of being gay.
Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Bryant
I came out at age 58 in March 2018. What’s nice about coming out in your 50s, is you don’t care what other people think! My coming out was positive and my family had no problem accepting me as a gay person. I want to thank Dr. Frankie Bashan, my clinical psychologist and dating and relationship coach, for recommending TomboyX and giving me the courage and support to write my coming out story. This Veterans Day, I celebrate having found my true self and an amazing truly patriotic US company in TomboyX. TomboyX personifies a great American company that repeatedly supports active duty military and veterans during war and peace with not only their great products but actions as well. TomboyX has a terrific agenda—the human agenda—and cares deeply about diverse communities such as US military and the LGBTQ community.

"I feel with TomboyX products I am putting on armor to fight for LGBTQ rights."

I feel with TomboyX products I am putting on armor to fight for LGBTQ rights. My 6” Flys give me courage, bravery, security and safety in being able to achieve the impossible. Thank you, Fran and Naomi, for creating such a world-class, innovative company that cares for active duty military and veterans through high-quality products such as underwear, bras, and sleepwear promoting one’s authentic self in war and difficult times. You and your company are true patriots!

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TomboyX is grateful for the service of all our active and veteran military customers, and offer 10% off their purchases via our military discount code generator.