LGBT History Month: Katherine Miller, U.S. Army

It’s about vocalizing what the voiceless cannot say and making visible those who are invisible.

Soldier/Activist

b. November 13, 1989

In this photo provided by Katherine Miller on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010, Miller, a lesbian cadet at the U.S. Military Academy, is shown. Miller on Monday, Aug. 12, 2010 asked to resign from the U.S. Military Academy because she can no longer lie about her sexuality and was troubled by the anti-gay attitudes of some around her. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Katherine Miller) NO SALES

Katherine Miller was the last West Point cadet discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). She is a 2012 Yale graduate. With the repeal of DADT, Miller enlisted in the Army as an officer.

Raised in Ohio in a conservative military family, Miller’s dream was to become an officer in the Army. In 2008, she enrolled at West Point and excelled as a cadet, ranking in the top one percent of her class. She faced hostility from those who believed her to be a lesbian. After two years at the academy, Miller said, “I could not square my integrity with the daily half-truths that came with hiding my sexuality.”

In 2010, Miller came out to her commanders and leaked her letter of resignation to the media, effectively initiating her own discharge. The following day she discussed her decision on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and became a spokesperson for the repeal of DADT. After her discharge, Miller transferred to Yale University.

Miller served on the founding board of OutServe, then an underground organization of gay active-duty service members. She represented the organization at major media engagements, most notably escorting Lady Gaga to the MTV Video Music Awards to mobilize viewers for the DADT repeal.

Miller was the most important lesbian voice in the repeal of DADT. As a tribute to her activism, she was invited to the White House for the signing of the repeal bill in 2011.

Miller was named a Truman Scholar, a Point Foundation Scholar and one of Out magazine’s “Top 100 Influential Men and Women of 2010.”

Bibliography