Lesbians Have to Eat, Too
By Michelle Armstead
Jenice Armstead, 32, of Tampa, Fla. is a gay U.S. Navy veteran and freelance writer who has published two books and counting.
Armstead came up with the idea for her first book, “Lesbians Have to Eat, Too”, when she found herself unemployed in 2006. Her longtime partner was confined to a bed for six months at a time for three surgeries, so she needed to create recipes that could control weight gain for her partner.
The book started off as just notes which eventually turned into a cookbook that incorporated stories from Jenice’s personal life as well as 101 of her own recipes.
“The title was designed to shock people and challenge them to open it up and see what the book is about,” she stated. “It’s about inspiration and how gay people have the same loves and fears as straight people. We eat too. We cry too. We struggle too. So, we can relate.”
The title also serves as a slap in the face to the military for forcing Jenice to deny her sexuality as well as to make people realize that they have no idea what a lesbian looks like.
“I’ve been told so many times that I don’t look gay,” she stated.
Jenice shared her knowledge about business and human resources through freelance writing under the pen name Jayla Heart, designed to protect her from being kicked out of the military.
“I was a Human Resources specialist for the military, and when I was in active duty it was a crime to be gay,” She mentioned. “I could have been kicked out, so I created my pen name to protect myself.”
Armstead goes on to describe the bad experience she had in the military after people found out about her sexual orientation.
“I got out [of the military] because I was gay and couldn’t serve closeted any longer. It got bad
near the end. We were being recorded in our home, a video was dropped off at my commanding officer’s desk, I was told not to engage in homosexual activity, people were harassing me at work, my partner was being harassed, men would try to force themselves on me…”
The Early Out Program for personnel with a full time job or full time student status saved Jenice from being kicked out of the military with an Other Than Honorable discharge.
“When I got out, I vowed to be as ‘out’ as possible.”