Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gays in the Military

It appears that President Obama and the U.S. Congress might actually look again at the "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" [DADT] legislation. I hope they will. I just finished watching a segment on the Rachel Maddow Show, where she interviewed U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq veteran, who said it was a non-issue when he was in Iraq.

14,000 loyal Americans have been kicked out of the military since DADT went into effect in 1993.

Latest polls report that 75% of Americans support the repeal of DADT. Apparently, both the military and the general citizenry agree that DADT is just stupid.

My first awareness of this issue was when I saw the documentary, Before Stonewall, a gazillion years ago. (Apparently, you can watch it online for free here.)

Actually, I saw it in the mid-1980s, when it appeared in Atlanta. It's marvelous. And it taught me about the people who lived their lives in the closet long before the Stonewall riots in 1969. Among the interviewees are some gay men and lesbians who served in the U.S. military.

I was reminded of that marvelous documentary when I saw this image today at the ICanHasCheezburger network. No matter what the conservatives say, gay men and lesbians have always been serving in the U.S. military. It's time we ended the witchhunts.

demotivational posters

Remember, America, we've been working alongside you all along ... in the military, in the church, and in every other profession.


OpenID eighthsacrament said...

Elle the Nerd speaking. One of the best The Moth episodes I ever heard was the one in which Lt. Dan Choi recalled how he got kicked out of the military for the dishonor of violating the law, yet he upheld the honor code by being who he is and not lying.

5/25/2010 10:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I, too, have been impressed by Lt. Dan Choi, Elle. What a price that brave, decorated man is paying. {sigh}

5/25/2010 10:30 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

A couple of years ago, some Canadian Naval Reserve colleagues and I attended a United States Air Force Reserve conference. We were only there for part of the conference, omitting the day or two of briefings that were specifically about US policies and plans. Part of the agenda for that section was an update regarding DADT.

Naturally, our American friends wanted to know about the situation in Canada. I paraphrased the Canadian policy as "Tell me if you want: I don't give a rat's ass." This has been our policy since the early 1990s. In fact, anti-harrassment training a decade ago included specific modules regarding harrassment based on sexual orientation.

In my military occupation, we happen to have a particularly high concentration of lesbians. The current Commanding Officer of one Canadian warship is openly gay. One of the finest officers I ever had work for me is a transgendered (M2F) woman.

In that same time, I have worked on exercises with several gay and lesbian USN and USNR officers - all of whom were in jeopardy of having their careers ripped away based on nothing but a sclerotic Pentagon bureaucracy and a bigotted caucus of homophobes in Washington.

It's clear from the recent comments of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the military now believes this fatuous policy of institutionalized hate is well past its best before date. The only reason DADT is still in place is a lack of backbone and a fear of bigots.

5/25/2010 10:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you for this, Malcolm. I appreciate your perspective as an insider in the military.

Sounds like you all are light-years ahead of the U.S.

If only you all weren't so darn far north, the cold-blooded Southerner would quickly move to the enlightened nation of Canada.

I appreciate your passionate comments, Malcolm.

5/25/2010 11:08 PM  
Blogger IT said...

Indeed we have. We are there. And still we rise.

5/25/2010 11:09 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Good one, IT. I left my comment over at Friends of Jake.

5/25/2010 11:21 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

When it's cold, it's a DRY cold.

And equal marriage is the law everywhere.

5/26/2010 12:02 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Malcolm, I happily enjoy the "dry heat" of Arizona, New Mexico, etc. But I cannot bear cold in any of its forms.

It's miserably unfair that most of the enlightened countries seem to be in the cold zones. Leaves me with almost nowhere to go.

5/26/2010 12:12 AM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

I liked the Canadian version so much I put it on my FB page!

5/26/2010 11:28 PM  
Blogger MarkBrunson said...

Malcolm, don't underestimate how rough cold weather is for us in the South. It get's down to 30, people are already wearing two or three sweaters, a parka and a cap if going outside. Below 20, we consider you don't go outside. In all seriousness - because Northern friends who've never lived down here don't believe this - if we get snow, even a dusting, schools close, snow that sticks and is deeper, especially with any hint of freezing roads, private businesses start closing, too.

5/27/2010 2:21 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

What Mark said.

I remember being stranded in D.C. many years ago by a snowstorn that had thunder and lightning. When I finally laded in Atlanta, and made my way into the city, there was a clever billboard: "The City of Atlanta is Closed Until Further Notice." My city had probably had about 2" of snow. But the city also had only 1 or 2 snow plows. So a small snowfall really would paralyze the city.

5/27/2010 9:53 PM  

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