A former RAAF airman has called for an apology for dehumanising treatment he and others suspected of being gay suffered at the hands of the military’s service police prior to the gay ban lifting in 1992.
“Bill” Bakker, an enlisted photographer attached to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit during the 1970s, is still battling nightmares, alcohol and suicidal thoughts from his interrogations and discharge from the RAAF.
“There was another name they had attributed to me by the end of my three-and-a-half-months of service police investigation, -˜shitlegs’, because I was a nervous wreck,” he told Sydney Star Observer.
“I was always in fear they’d beat me with truncheons in the middle of the night and that was why I’d been moved to an abandoned block at the end of a disused runway.”
He said there were long interrogations, room searches and ostracism. At the time he was at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia.
Attempts to obtain the transcripts of his interrogations under freedom of information laws had failed, he said. He still doesn’t know what brought him to the attention of the Service Police and Counter Intelligence Unit.
Bakker, who had a wife and child, claims the “SPITS” told him his family did not need to know about the investigation and he could opt for a Discharge At Own Request.
“These bumbling oafs were in charge of my life. I had to report in to them regularly, home detention style. I’d sit around while they talked in a manner to intimidate, about the latest lezzo to be busted and ‘fucken pooftah’ he fucked the slope cause he thought he was a she, ‘we weren’t born yesterday, fucken homo’,” he said.
“When that failed I was threatened with a court-martial for conspiracy, withholding information about a homosexual secret society within the RAAF.”
He appealed to then Defence Minister Jim Killen, “but the bastard did nothing,” he said.
Bakker was discharged with Services No Longer Required.
A group of about 15 people formed the Gay Ex-Services Association (GESA) in the early 1980s.
It is not known what happened to GESA after 1984. Neither Bakker nor the Defence Gay and Lesbian Information Service had current contact with those were members. Bakker hoped others involved would come forward to corroborate the treatment by service police.
“We were regarded as a security threat and as perverts,” he said.
“We had our careers stolen and we cannot readjust to civilian life after the humiliation by the service police.”
The early discharges also prevented them from obtaining a military pension.