Joseph Yglesias serves as a Chief Cryptologic Technician in the U.S. Navy. He was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. Joseph joined the Navy in 1998 when he was 28 years old and has received numerous medals, awards and decorations during his years of service. At the time that he enlisted, the military was operating under the 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy that barred service by openly gay and bisexual men and women. Joseph, who says he was “gay right from the start,” had been active in gay rights issues while living in Austin during his 20s. For Joseph and other gay service members, the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' in 2010 meant they no longer faced the threat of being discharged for the simple act of acknowledging their true selves.
In August, I’ll have been in the Navy for 14 years. I’m classified as a CT, a Cryptologic Technician, but my official job is as a Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese linguist. It’s kind of interesting, there are a lot of gay linguists in the military. I think maybe that’s because of our duality. Learning a different language is like learning a different culture. This may be a stretch, but I think that when you grow up gay, you’re forced to be two different people, forced to have that dichotomy in your life—or at least that’s how it was for me. I felt like I grew up with two different personalities: the guarded one and the open one.