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Tony Breton
Commitment!

by

Denny Meyer

Tony Breton is the sort of solid soldier that can be counted on, over and over, to do his duty and do it exceptionally well.  While others give orders and get accolades, he's the one on his feet actually making things happen and making sure that they get done in the most outstanding manner possible.  They don't give medals for that, alas.  The fact that he's gay and enjoys dressing up rather spectacularly like a woman shouldn't matter any more than what flavor ice cream he likes.

Anthony Breton is of proud French Canadian-American Catholic descent.  He was born in Waterville, Maine in the mid 1950s; his grandmother was born on the St. Laurence River in Quebec.  His first language was French-Canadian and he grew up bilingual.  The family has a proud tradition of American military service.  His father served in WWII in the US Navy, and was part of an advance reconnaissance team that was in Normandy, behind enemy lines, before the D-Day Invasion of Allied forces.  It was fortuitous that his father was a native Francophone for that mission.  His mother served in the Nurses Corps in WWII. Both of his brothers served, one in Vietnam as a Marine, the other in the Air Force.

Growing up on Long Island, New York, where his father was a printer, Tony became increasingly aware that he was gay during his teens.  His family had been aware that he was different long before that.  To their credit, clearly, building character was more important than conformity.

So, as The Gay Military Signal always asks, "If you knew you were gay when you joined the Army; WHAT were you thinking?"  Without a moment's hesitation, Tony told me, "First, for the family tradition of serving America.  When I raised my right hand to be sworn in, I was thinking, this is a commitment I will keep."  Secondly, he intended to learn a trade, on his own terms, and following in his father's footsteps, became a Photo Lithographer.  He was in the Color Guard both during his duty in Germany and at Ft. Dix.  He served 8 years printing topographic maps. He would have served an entire career, its the sort of person he is; but there was an accusation of homosexuality and as a result, he was discharged honorably in 1986.  He has, of course, had a career in high end printing ever since.

During his service, he met a fellow service member, Vicki, who was a cook and an artist.  They got on so well and were so comfortable with each other that he proposed and they married and they remain  together to this day, some 30 years later.  Tony was aware that it might be simpler not to complicate life like that; but as he explained it to me, "When I make a commitment, I intend to keep it because its what I want to do."

During Pride and Veteran's Day parades, Tony is the contingent marshal for the NY Chapter of American Veterans For Equal Rights.  For him, its not an honorary role; he runs himself ragged keeping flag bearers in line while at the same time being the official photographer.  He hasn't let his Color Guard experience in the military go to waste.  Tony is also the Secretary of AVER-NY and an amateur wrestler with the nom de plume of Luscious Lance.

  2009  Gay Military Signal