Soldier’s plea for apology

Soldier’s plea for apology

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.

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3 responses to “Soldier’s plea for apology”

  1. David.My partner and I experienced the same homophobic treatment not in the military but at News Ltd.Maybe it’s time the we want marriage fairies look at the reallity of homophobia.A public marriage will be worne just as the nazi pink triangle.We survived the homophobic attacks but found ouselves in a completly different world.Once again I call for a review of all existing laws and a framework to look at the widespread abuse.

  2. Maybe -˜Bill’ Bakker and others who have suffered homophobic abuse need to consider court action. There seems to be hundreds of stories of homophobic abuse and yet we as a “community” don’t seem to want to do anything about it, Sometimes you have to force change, unless you want to keep things the way they are.

    I don’t know why Mr Bakker even decided to write the the defense minister, he’s not going to acknowledge the abuse occured as it may be used in court evidence. If Mr Bakker does recieve a reply, its likely just going to be a feel good letter with the minister out-lining changes that have been made to the defense force and there so-called equal opportunity policies.

  3. This is just terrible.

    I hope this person, and others can get an apology.

    Torture was always illegal.

    I think we should have a national Sorry Day for all of us who have suffered. We should also have a memorial.

    I hope Mr Bakker can find some peace in his life. Our thoughts are with you.

    My partner who was bashed to death when he worked for defense. The democrats were so outraged by this they applied lots of pressure to the government. Shortly after the laws were changed. At the time Defence staff called him Fairy and asked him to kill himself. They were horrible cunts. Management put him at a desk and told him not to do any work. They wanted him to be bored to death. He struggled and stayed on until he was gay bashed. He was a civilian employee so God knows what they did to people like Mr Bakker.

    I hope the Minister has some heart here.