Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Margarethe Cammermeyer

Born in Norway during the Nazi occupation, Cammermeyer and her family moved to the US in 1951. She joined the Army Student Nurse Program and, after graduating college, reported for active duty. She married a fellow soldier and, in 1967, was deployed to Vietnam as head nurse for her unit. Becoming pregnant after her tour, she was forced to leave the military, but she later joined the Army Reserves when the regulation was changed and achieved the rank of Colonel. After 15 years of marriage and four sons, she realized she was a lesbian and left her marriage. “It was difficult and painful,” she recalled, “but necessary to find the real me.” In 1989, as Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard, she told the military she was a lesbian. Honorably discharged, she filed a lawsuit and, two years later, a judge found the ban on homosexuals unconstitutional, and she was reinstated. In 1994, she published an autobiography, Serving in Silence. Made into a television movie starring Glenn Close, it won three Emmy awards. Cammermeyer was active in the campaign against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In December 2012, she married her long-time partner, Diane Divelbass, in Washington State.