Reichen Lehmkuhl, best known as an Amazing Race winner, and boyfriend to pop star Lance Bass, has revealed that he was raped while in the military.
Thirty-two year old Lehmkuhl said in an interview with US television network ABC that he was sexually assaulted by two other cadets when he was in the air force academy.
“A bag was put over my head… I was stripped of my clothes. I was forced to do things sexually with two other male cadets,” he said in the interview.
According to the model and actor, this was the first time that he had publicly disclosed this information, explaining that he had been ashamed to discuss the rape.
Lehmkuhl’s experiences in the military are also chronicled in his recently released biographical book, Here’s What We’ll Say: Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force Academy
Lehmkuhl – who said that it was a childhood dream to be in the air force – blamed the incident on the homophobic environment within the Academy, adding that he did not report the incident because of the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
He also said that he was driven to the brink of suicide because of the pressures of being closeted in the Air force.
“That’s when you start having suicidal thoughts, and that’s when you start saying, ‘Oh my God. I am so stuck in this situation. I can’t go to anyone,’” he said.
The US military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy does not allow for military personnel to be open about their sexuality. Lehmkuhl continued to serve out his term – which he completed five years ago – after the assault, eventually reaching the rank of captain.