Life as a Citadel cadet is notoriously tough, with its four-year program of military training and disciplined schedules on top of regular academic activities. For those of us whose college life consisted of sleeping off our hangovers, a Citadel education sounds grueling. But El Cid’s cadets are tough enough to take the pace, and a minority of those deal with the added pressure of keeping their homosexuality a secret.

Since 1993, the military has maintained a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy whereby gays and lesbians can serve as long as they stay in the closet. Ten years after the policy began, alumnus Kevin Scott created the Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA), a group for gay cadets, graduates, and like-minded individuals to communicate and support each other.

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