Calpernia Addams

Vanity Fair Confidential: Don’t Ask Don’t Kill

Vanity Fair May 2005

The Vanity Fair Confidential/Discovery documentary “Don’t Ask, Don’t Kill”, based on Vanity Fair’s 2000 article of the same name covering the murder of my Army boyfriend PFC Barry Winchell, aired several weeks ago. I was interviewed for it here in LA several months ago, and provided some personal materials to the filmmakers. I had been unable to watch the completed piece when it aired, knowing that it featured a phone interview with one of Barry’s murderers and that it would bring up all the bad memories again. After hearing that some friends who were unaware that I was trans had seen it on television and now knew my history, I decided that I had to watch it, if only to see how the newest people in my life were being introduced to this latest telling of the story (and my story along with it).

The program features some of the same old/same old arch tones and less-than-thrilling language that I’m so wearily used to after all these years of seeing trans issues covered by outsiders (describing Barry, and our relationship as “Not completely straight… not fully gay…”, etc). But overall, I think it is a nuanced and well researched retelling of the story. Check it out if you’re interested on Investigation Discovery channel (TV Schedule) or elsewhere. (I do not make any money if you watch the show, nor do I make money from the movie “Soldier’s Girl”, BTW)

There’s not much more to say about it at this point. I participated in revisiting the 2000 Vanity Fair article because I felt like some new perspective could be brought to the story in light of the fairly recent repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. And because, as much as it is painful for me to revisit the story again and again, I never want Barry’s sacrifice to be forgotten.

More information on my Soldier’s Girl pages