Openly Gay US Navy Pilot Forced To Leave Navy After Harassment From Colleagues

by : Cameron Frew on : 29 Apr 2021 15:18
Openly Gay US Navy Pilot Forced To Leave Navy After Harassment From ColleaguesLt. Adam Adamski/KPBS/PA Images

An openly gay pilot is leaving the US Navy after homophobic harassment, saying he feels ‘segregated.’ 

Back in 2010, the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Act came into force, undoing the Clinton administration legislation that only allowed people to serve in the military if they kept their sexual orientation confidential, despite no evidence of it affecting ‘any aspect of military effectiveness including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment and retention’.


Even 11 years later, the policy still casts a shadow. Lt. Adam Adamski joined the Navy six years ago. For most of his time, he’s felt relatively supported as a gay pilot – however, a 2019 incident has led to him leaving.

As reported by San Diego’s KPBS, Adamski is a helicopter pilot for a Navy search-and-rescue squadron, and is said to work closely with the Marines. In 2019, he’d been invited to a West Coast Marine Corps Birthday Ball at Pala Casino Spa and Resort, where he also attended an after-party.

When he got to the hotel room, ‘I knew something wasn’t right,’ Adamski said. ‘The TV had been moved, like on a pivot to face the doorway. And I saw my dress whites draped over and around the TV and there was hardcore gay porn playing.’

Lt. Adam Adamski/KPBSLt. Adam Adamski/KPBS

Other Marines encouraged him to file a complaint against those responsible. ‘I received numerous calls from people that are in the closet, in that squadron. Both men and women and openly gay service members. Telling me that they are upset. That the climate, especially for pilots, is not a good climate and they think that I should report it,’ he said.

While resistant at first, more focused on his first deployment, Adamski later filed a complaint that was substantiated by a squadron commander and Navy Inspector General, who also offered to pull the offenders’ wings. He instead requested, ‘I want an in-person apology from all three of them. I want a meeting, in which they are there and I can talk to them.’

PA ImagesPA Images

However, as months passed, his Navy career became less enjoyable. In addition to affecting his flying, he ended up breaking up with an Air Force pilot who was considering coming out but was put off by Adamski’s harassment. ‘I lost a lot. I’m not happy. I no longer feel I’m an effective leader, an officer, a pilot. I don’t feel part of the military anymore. I feel segregated,’ he said.

Last year, he also suffered a road accident that further hindered his flying. He ended up taking early retirement, which will come in the next two months. ‘Most people back down because of all this hassle and I won. I’m not someone who will back down easily or ever. I’m not going to do it,’ he added.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, homophobia, LGBTQ+, Navy, US


  1. KPBS

    Openly Gay Pilot Leaving Navy After Harassment