A lesbian war resister who fled the US Army over homophobia won a key court case today, reports CanWest News Service.
Bethany Smith, who adopted the name Skyler James upon arriving in Canada, won a reprieve from deportation, thanks to a Federal Court ruling. The court ordered the Immigration and Refugee Board to reconsider Smith’s rejected asylum claim.
Skyler James in Ottawa in 2007 (Karen Rodgers photo)
Read the Federal Court’s full decision (PDF)
From our interview with Skyler James in 2007:
Skyler had another factor motivating her decision to come to Canada:
she is an out lesbian, which directly contradicts the military’s
infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And Skyler, with her
close-cropped hair and penchant for slim-fitting shirts and skinny
ties, refused to hide her sexual orientation. In fact she flaunted it —
even hanging a rainbow flag in her room at the military base, despite a
rule which prohibits anyone who “demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent
to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the US Army.
didn’t want to hide,” says Skyler, who knew she was gay when she signed
up for the military, but said she figured she could keep it under the
radar. “In the end it didn’t work out that way. I was ridiculed daily
by the other soldiers and even received hate letters."
Read the full 2007 interview with Skyler James and check back later today for a full story.