PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - At just 19-years-old, Lynn University student Jaime Carter signed up for the Marine Corps and served in Europe, South America and the Middle East.
"I figured the military would give me more perspective," he said.
But Carter says he waged another fight too -- the one of self imposed isolation because he is gay.
After nearly two decades, the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy has ended. It's a policy that caused many homosexual servicemen and women to hide in the shadows in fear of expulsion and punishment.
"I got to see a lot and develop myself as a person, but of course the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was really an impediment," said Carter.
Afraid his superiors would find out, he kept to himself.
"I wasn't sure how to interact with other marines, especially with having to hide who I am," said Carter. "I was terrified of being kicked out."
Now 28, Carter spends his time working toward his degree in international studies. As president of the Gay Student Alliance on campus, he makes a point to support gay men and lesbians.
"It was one of the biggest challenges to be gay in the military during 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' he said.
Lynn Nelson, another veteran, served four years in the Air Force. He is not gay, but fully supports the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'
"That's their business. As long as they want to stay in the military, fine with me," said Nelson.
Thousands of men and women were forced out of the military because of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Because of the repeal, they will now be able to re-enlist, but there is no guarantee they will be allowed back in.
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