An Ashland gay activist who's also a retired naval commander will speak in Medford tonight about her experience in the military.

An Ashland gay activist who's also a retired naval commander will speak in Medford tonight about her experience in the military.

Beth Coye leads the community discussion for the group Not Straight Not Sure from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 127/129 of the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, 101 S. Bartlett St.

Coye, author of "My Navy Too," served 21 years as a line officer, including three tours in intelligence. She was one of the Navy's first female commanding officers.

The daughter of an admiral and a 1959 graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Coye campaigned through the '60s and '70s for equality of women in the military. Unable to tolerate the military's prejudice against gays, she retired in 1980, came out of the closet and began her battle for gay service members' right to "serve openly and honestly" without compromising their integrity by lying.