"Boy Meets Boy," Loses Job
Fri Aug 22, 8:00 PM ET
By Lia Haberman
One step forward and two steps back.
While gay couple Reichen and Chip celebrate Thursday's victory on CBS' reality series The Amazing Race, the Navy has expelled one of its own for appearing on Bravo's gay romantic reality show Boy Meets Boy, reports San Diego's Southern Voice.
Michael Tiner, who went by his middle name Jason on the show, was discharged from the Navy for violating its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward sexual orientation.
"I was ready for it," said the combat systems instructor. "I was comfortable enough with who I am and with my sexuality that I was ready to face the consequences.
Some worry the move could hamper the positive visibility gay men and lesbians have achieved on reality series.
"Unfortunately, what [reality show] applicants can learn from this is be careful because your livelihood is at stake," said Scott Seomin, entertainment media director at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"The consensus among viewers of Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is that all is well in the world for gay men and lesbians and that is not that case," said Seomin.
As part of Boy Meets Boy's twist, Tiner's sexuality on the series was ambiguous--he could have been one of several heterosexual contestants--but after he was rejected by the leading man, James, Tiner's orientation was revealed.
According to the Southern Voice, the 26-year-old had already alerted his commanding officer by the time the first episode aired on July 29. The move to expel Tiner began immediately and became effective August 19. He received an honorable discharge.
Bravo refused to comment on Tiner's discharge on Friday.
The former Navy man also revealed that all the contestants were required to meet with a psychiatrist in part, he believed, "to make sure everyone was mentally stable, so when they found out there were straight people there nobody went postal on them."
Meanwhile, Reichen Lehmkuhl and Chip Arndt used their victory on CBS Thursday as a platform to encourage the belief that gay people were as capable and have the same values and goals as everyone else.
The duo won the contest's $1 million prize after being the first team to cross the finish line in Phoenix. Twelve teams raced around the world, from Los Angeles and through Europe, India, Malaysia, Korea and Australia, to make it to the finish line.
Lehmkuhl, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a former Air Force officer, will appear in an upcoming documentary that investigates the military's 10-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, the Washington, D.C., based Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced Friday.
"The Pentagon is firing three people every day simply because of their sexual orientation," Lehmkuhl said in a SLDN press release. "If the same thing were happening in corporate America, most citizens would be rightfully outraged. The fact that our nation's largest employer discriminates against gay Americans under the sanction of federal law is equally appalling."