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.
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."
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