Melvin Dwork, Gay World War II Vet, Gets Name Cleared
World War II Veteran Melvin Dwork won a decades-long battle with the Navy over his 1944 discharge for being gay. His discharge is officially being changed from “undesirable” to “honorable," the Navy Times reports.
“I resented that word ‘undesirable,’” said Dwork, who was expelled in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York, according to the Navy Times. “That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It’s really worse than ‘dishonorable.’ I think it was the worst word they could have used.”
In what is believed to be the first time the Pentagon has taken such a step on behalf of a World War II veteran since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell," Dwork will now be eligible for benefits including medical care and a military burial, according to the Navy Times.
“I think that with the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ there is a growing realization within the military that not only gays be allowed to serve openly now but this was probably the wrong policy all along,” said Aaron Belkin, an expert on gays in the U.S. military at the University of California, Los Angeles, as reported by the Navy Times.