- Category : 1948-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (6,9,22)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 3
American soldier in the U.S. Army for 20 years. Black - and gay, he was given a discharge when his sexual orientation became known. He sued the Military and won, getting a huge settlement. Watkins was able to enjoy an affluent lifestyle, but was found to be HIV positive in 1992.
By the time he had graduated from Tacoma Lincoln High School, Watkins had taken several years of dance classes, including studying with the Tacoma City Ballet Company. He won several awards in speech tournaments and had been a finalist for the school cheerleading squad-as good as he could do because at that time, blacks were not accepted on the Tacoma cheerleading squad.
In 1967, Watkins was called to the draft board in Frankfort, Germany, for his induction physical. He explained, “I received my little draft notice, went down to the induction center, and checked the ’yes’ box for ’homosexual tendencies.’ Watkins was sent to a psychiatrist. According to Conduct Unbecoming the colonel then wrote on the back of Watkin’s induction form: “This 19-year-old inductee has had homosexual tendencies in the past.... Patient can go into military service—qualified for induction.” Thus, Watkins began his military service as an openly gay man in May of 1968.
During his 15 years of service in the military, Watkins received several commendations from his superiors. Despite all of his military work and honors, when Watkins’s security clearance was up for renewal in 1979, it was denied because of his gay status.
In his last years, he lectured and spoke to various groups around the country on topics relating to being gay in the military. Having tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, he also worked with terminally ill people. In 1994, a documentary entitled The Perry Watkins Story, chronicled his drag queen performing days. Watkins died in Tacoma on March 17, 1996, from complications brought on by AIDS.
He is a published author of fiction.