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Wrong on Gays in the Military

Alright, I've had it! Had it with the antiquated arguments against gays serving openly in the military espoused today on The Post’s Op Ed page by James J. Lindsay, Jerome Johnson, E.G. "Buck" Shuler Jr., and Joseph Went. Gay men and lesbians should be allowed to serve. They should be allowed to serve openly. And they should be allowed to serve with the honor and dignity such service entails.

Let's get one thing straight (as it were): The retired military honchos got it wrong in their second paragraph when they wrote, "The administration and some in Congress have pledged to repeal Section 654 of U.S. Code Title 10, which states that homosexuals are not eligible for military service. Often confused with the ‘don't ask, don't tell' regulations issued by President Bill Clinton, this statute establishes several reasons that homosexuality is incompatible with military service."

For all intents and purposes, Section 654 of U.S. Code Title 10 is "don't ask, don't tell."

They also belittle the inclusion of gays in the armed forces of our allies by picking on Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada. All are fine nations, but they don't conjure up the chest-thumping machismo you might get when you hear Israel, Italy or Great Britain. Gays and lesbians serve openly in those countries, too.

Most irksome is the writers’ reliance on worn out rationales for excluding gays in the military. "Team cohesion and concentration on missions would suffer," they wrote, “if our troops had to live in close quarters with others who could be sexually attracted to them." Their argument presumes that every homosexual in the armed forces is on the make. As if!

Sirs, gay men and lesbians are serving in the United States military right now. They wear the uniform because, to paraphrase paragraph 5 of Section 654 of U.S. Code Title 10, they want "to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense." They wear the uniform because they want to defend the ideals, laws and values of the United States against all enemies. They wear the uniform because they love their country.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 15, 2009; 5:16 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Thank you for bringing some sanity to this argument. Let men and women serve their country proudly, regardless of their sexual preference.

Also, aren't many of these arguments the same as the ones that were used arguing against mixed-race units in 1948?

Posted by: terpguy2009 | April 15, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan
I am gay and like you a man of color, but can we be honest. We are not those European countries, we are not Israel, so for me those comparisons are weak. And can we be completely honest? Has anyone ever been to a gay pride parade or event? Thousands of "Open" gay men and women, not all but many make me shudder when I try and see the same guys who are prancing around like ladies or the same women dressed and acting like men in a USA military uniform. I don't care about trying to" thump their chest and machismo" like the Israeli, Italian and Great Britain. I know that many want to serve our country and many have served well and with distinction,but those friends of mine who are gay and serve also shudder at the same fears I have mentioned above. It has always been known that the rules in the us military have been different than those in regular society. Serving and wearing our nations uniform is a privileged Johnathan, not a right.

Posted by: Change081 | April 15, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Heehee.

...like there aren't any gays in the military now....the only difference a change in policy would make is that they wouldn't have to lie about it to keep their careers.....

Posted by: toritto | April 15, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course they are the same arguements as those against having mixed raced units after WWII. They still work because it isn't about fairness or equality, it's only about operating efficiency. Once the cost of losing valuable gay members of the military is more than the cost losing people who don't want to serve with gays then the policy will switch. That is a real concern when you have a volenteer army as opposed to a conscripted one. There's nothing more to it than that, I thought the op-ed piece yesterday made the point well.

Posted by: Dremit97 | April 15, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

You Sir, make a valid case based on little qualifying expertise. As a 20 year retired veteran, I tire of people with little to no understanding of military life, rules and command and control of troops in the field, making comments like these. Until you have served in the field, under close quarters in foxholes, two men shelter halves and such, the last thing you need to be concerned with is that your fellow soldier is getting sexually aroused for you. Let's not fool ourselves by saying that this scenario is unrealistic. (look up the definition of what it means to be homosexual) As for the gays who are serving now in good standing, they are quiet for good reason, and keeping their careers intact is not the only issue.

Posted by: jmason3331 | April 15, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

jmason3331, what exactly is the definition of a homosexual?? let me guess, it's:

Main Entry: 1ho·mo·sex·u·al
Pronunciation: \ˌhō-mə-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl, -ˈsek-shəl\
Function: adjective
Date: 1892
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex
2 : of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex
— ho·mo·sex·u·al·ly adverb

so, exactly what does this say about the readiness of a solider or the ability to perform ones duty as said solider?? Oh, it doesn't! Gay men and women keep quiet in order to serve their country honorably with being discharged for simply being themselves! Also, they are quiet because they do not want to get beat up by others in their units, not just for keeping their careers intact as you state. Lastly, how does being gay affect the command and control of troops in the field?? Just because you allow gay people to serve openly does not mean that theirs gonna be a lot of gay loving going on during a battle!!! Get a grip and loosen the tie my friend, you need to get some oxygen to that small brain of yours....

Posted by: JamesGnPhilly | April 15, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

All these bloviators who feel gay activists want to carve out exceptions to their service in the military, they sure do act privileged enough to make a lot of arguments that presuppose that the military is a democracy and cares what they think.

Loads MORE people have bypassed a military career to lead honest civilian lives than will ever leave one to abide a prejudice.

Posted by: falasifa | April 15, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

"Until you have served in the field, under close quarters in foxholes, two men shelter halves and such, the last thing you need to be concerned with is that your fellow soldier is getting sexually aroused for you. Let's not fool ourselves by saying that this scenario is unrealistic. (look up the definition of what it means to be homosexual)"

jmason3331:

You don't need to have experience in the field to know your argument is based on unfounded fears.
I take it you don't know any gays. That might explain why you resort to directing our attention to pointless definitions. We are more than just our sexual orientation; we don't live to have "sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex." Just like you and other heterosexuals aren't defind solely by your attraction to the opposite sex.
Why would someone who's gay even bother trying to come on to someone who isn't? Especially while out in the field "under close quarters in foxholes??!" I imagine most good soldiers, gay or straight, would focus on whatever their mission is and their safety and that of their fellow comrades.
Someone who can't understand that and allows themselves to fret over such trivial matters isn't fit to serve, in my opinion.

Posted by: newbalance87 | April 15, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

jmason3331, speaking with a 20-year veteran's "qualifying expertise," says that we must protect the tender feelings of our (straight) soldiers from the anxiety that they might find themselves sharing a foxhole with a comrade who was becoming sexually aroused. If that is what soldiers in foxholes worry about, then war can't be nearly as bad as we're led to believe.

Posted by: Alexis3 | April 15, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Capehart. Well written and argued.

DAStubbs,
Minneapolis
Gay Veteran
USAF 1975-1979

Posted by: dastubbs | April 15, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

As for being in the military, I was in the Marines. Being gay, I wasn't comfortable hiding who I was, but I did it so I could proudly server my country, even if it was behind a mask. I think it is poor that they require some people to mask themselves to serve.
As for hurting unit morale and cohesion, that is a lot of bull. Would the bond of trust not be closer if some didn't have to hide who they were?
As for the closeness you get to others, it's not a matter of sexuality. It is a matter of men and women serving equally as brothers and sisters and fighting to protect each other and accomplish the mission. I have been in that situation where I had to shower with many other guys. I wasn't even thinking about the guys around me in that manner, especially when I was serving in Iraq. I saw them as my brothers, ones I would have jumped in front of a bullet to protect if the situation came up.
When they judge someone, I don't think they should just them by the choices they make in life, the color of their skin, their religion, or anything except for the pride in their country and the dedication they show daily to complete their mission and protect the country.
Many qualified people have been kicked out for their choices, when they could have been that critical part that saved the lives or made it possible to complete the mission.
I think the time has come to repeal this absurd policy, if not for equality, for the people who are wearing those mask serving our country as I write this. There are already many serving in the military that hide themselves. Why make them hide to keep their job, when nobody else around them has to?
I was proud to serve my country with HONOR, COURAGE, and COMMITMENT, even when I was behind a mask, but that mask made it impossible for me to stay in any longer after my contract was completed.

J S Rice,
Indiana
Gay Veteran
USMC

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 15, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

The reason men and women don't bunk together is the same reason why gays shouldn't be in the service. End of Story!

Capehart gets it wrong yet again.

Posted by: ekim53 | April 16, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

It seems to be the problem of homophobes who can't handle it. The military is concerned about needing to educate or losing the homophobes, or cohesion in the ranks in a time of war.

I don't think the old dudes specified how many homophobes there were. They were afraid enlistments would drop off. Maybe a return to the draft would render that concern moot, but a return to the draft is not likely if we can avoid it.

My previous post under Wrong on Gays in the Military suggested a. the power elite does not want a draft because the American people, and especially the elite, do not want to bring harm to their children, and b. the military is desperate to do everything else to keep the numbers up without a draft.

Now the dudes are more familiar with combat life than most of us are. I am glad I am not familiar with the military life. Otherwise I would say, "well, nowadays professional conduct is expected..." but I only work 9 to 5.

I think the risk of being molested by a gay solder is very low. It can happen, but the military would certainly court-martial the offender. Sadistic rapists also come in the heterosexual variety, and I am afraid conventional rape is more common in the military.

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | April 16, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

jmason3331, if "you need to be concerned . . that your fellow soldier is getting sexually aroused for you", how is YOUR concern the fault of your fellow soldier? You're just getting your panties in a wad because of YOUR fear. Try to focus on your mission, instead. Are you still afraid of the monster under the bed, as well as being frightened of homosexuals?

Change081, you are correct that the US is not Europe or Israel. Some of those societies are obviously more mature than that of the US. That's no reason the US cannot try to grow up.

As to the more colorful or edgy members of the LGBT community you mention in conjunction with gay pride events, I hardly think drag queens are lining up to serve in the military (if only because olive drab is not particularly flattering), and what exactly constitutes "manly" behavior on the part of lesbians? You do realize that heterosexuals engage in like behaviors, too, don't you?

I suggest that those who oppose openly gay service in the military need to confront the issues within themselves that lead to their opposition. I suspect ignorance, prejudice, and/or fear. Since open homosexuality in the military has not been problematic in other countries, arguments against it are ludicrous and can only be seen as homophobia and/or bigotry.

Posted by: ExPat2 | April 16, 2009 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Generally speaking, the military is not ready for "open" gays. There are gays in the military already, they just can't brag about "hitting the clubs."

Right now, a change in policy is not needed. Another article in today's Post discusses increased applications to military academies.

Give it a rest already.

Posted by: postfan1 | April 16, 2009 3:34 AM | Report abuse

I concur.

http//:truth-about-kos.blogspot.com

Posted by: socialist2 | April 16, 2009 3:58 AM | Report abuse

Here is what is wrong with the discussion of gays serving openly. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO RECRUITING AND RETENTION! For all of those stating we should allow it, what happens if we lose alot of service people? Are you that are in favor of it going to sign up to replace those that leave? Will you support a draft? Until you answer those questions, you are not serious about National Security nor do you demonstrate care for the institution of the military....period.

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 5:24 AM | Report abuse

In response to "Generally speaking, the military is not ready for "open" gays." I think the military is more ready than alot of people think. It is becoming more acceptable as newer members join.
Just because you have to try and hide while your in, doesn't mean that nobody will find out. If you are gay, and someone is looking, it isn't always hard to see. I tried to hide, and was successful for the most part, but there were still some of my friends who found out. It wasn't that I was bragging about "hitting clubs", because I don't, but my quirks that made them guess. The funny thing about it, they didn't care. More, they trusted me because I didn't have to hide who I was around them. And it's not that we want to brag about what we do.
Imagine if the military did not allow any of its members to have any relationships at all, not even heterosexual. If it was this way, a guy in the military wouldn't be able to kiss his girlfriend before he leaves to go to war, to show his affection, or anything.
This is what it is like for us. Those who have significant others who are the same sex, but one of the partners serve in the military, are not allowed the same rights as everyone around them. How would you feel if someone told you that you were not allowed to kiss your partner goodbye before he/she was sent to war and might not come back? How would you feel if you were told you weren't allowed to have sex, because if you do, then you can't serve your country? Do you think it is right that someone gets kicked out just because someone saw that person kiss someone of the same sex in Wal-Mart or another place like that?
There was a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case in which the court ruled that the Air Force would have to show proof that the defendant undermined morale and unit cohesion. As a flight nurse she was well liked by her unit, and many in her unit supported her. All this because they claimed she was in a relationship with a civilian woman. If your interested in the article I am talking about it is on detnews.com. It's titled "Ousted Flight Nurse Proves Gays Don't Hurt Morale"

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 16, 2009 5:27 AM | Report abuse

It's an abomination, and the Bible says so.
How can we ask for God's Blessing when we allow that.
Those poor souls need care, not a uniform.

Posted by: tartansailor | April 16, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Haven't we heard these antiquated arguments before?

1. They said allowing blacks to serve will hurt morale, decrease recruiting and retention. Blacks have served honorably since the revolutionary war (when given the opportunity).

2. They said allowing women to serve in combat roles will hurt morale and decrease recruiting and retention. Women are serving now and doing a fantastic job with no losses in morale, recruiting and retention.

3. They said blacks couldn't swim so they could not be allowed in the Navy. Navy Diver, Carl Brasher and others crushed that theory.

4. They said Blacks are too stupid to fly them fancy airplanes. The Tuskeegee Airmen crushed that theory.

The bottom line is for every step in our evolution as a species their will always be a group trying to hold us back because they cannot accept change. I served in the military for 17 years in the military with 10 years in combat arms before becoming a journalist. I'm certain I served with Gay/Lesbian soldiers. The fact is they were professional enough to leave their lifestyles at home while they did their jobs.

Unfortunately we will always have people afraid of change, but they will become obsolete soon enough either by evolution or circumstance.

Posted by: A-Contrario | April 16, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I am gay myself and I asked for God's divine protection when I was in Iraq. I even had an experience that left me thanking God afterward. If God judged people based on some people's opinion, would he have saved me. If he did, then I doubt there would be a single person left alive after a war. I also feel that He led me to the person I care about now. It doesn't mean that everyone in the world has you religious beliefs, but if you think God will not love the troops because they are different you are wrong.
The military needed care for a lot of things in the past. Divorce, Adultery, you name it, if it exist in the civilian world, it exist in the military. Second, the bible is not a weapon. Using the bible to teach people about God is a good thing, but using the bible as a weapon is wrong, and I consider that a sin.
Who knows, you might not even have the right to read the bible and post on this site if it wasn't for people like me. People who have or still serve our country. Your right to go about your daily life, and be happy is due to the soldiers and veterans, and some of us are gay.

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 16, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Here is what is wrong with the discussion of gays serving openly. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO RECRUITING AND RETENTION! For all of those stating we should allow it, what happens if we lose alot of service people? Are you that are in favor of it going to sign up to replace those that leave? Will you support a draft? Until you answer those questions, you are not serious about National Security nor do you demonstrate care for the institution of the military....period.

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Australia has allowed gays to serve openly since the early 90s.

According to exit interviews of personnel conducted at the time exactly two personnel stated the policy on gays was the cause.

Australia has even amended its personnel policy to recognise interdependent relationships within its armed forces - which includes same sex parings.

Allowing gays to serve in the military is not, and never will be a military issue. It is a political cultural issue. The same arguments against gays was the same as those against integration of the US armed forces of African Americans and whites. And it is the same level of logic.

That is to say zero.

Posted by: Mikey6 | April 16, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I will answer to your post rowdyh2. Yes, I do support a draft if one is needed. I think that every American should serve their country, not only would they gain many brothers and sisters, they would also appreciate the freedoms they enjoy more.
In regard to recruiting and retention, what about the thousands of men and women who are kicked out, or do not re-enlist due to the policy. It isn't the number of troops we should worry about, but the quality of the troop that are in, including the thousands that are gay, but still serving at this moment. As said in another post somewhere, if you are worried about whether or not the guy next to you in a fighting hole is interested in you, your mind is in the wrong place. It is common sense that the person next to you would be more comfortable knowing your gay and not interested, than suspecting it and worrying whether or not you are taking an interest to him or her.
I do care for the military, quite a bit being that I served myself, and have someone close to me serving now. What we are fighting is not the right to be in the military, we can still get in, even if we have to hide who we are. We are just tired of hiding, and furthermore, I think the trust and cohesion would be greater if we didn't have to hid behind a mask of lies.
If you are in the military, and serving overseas, just think about this. The man or woman talking to a guy in Arabic, trying to find out where the enemy is to save your hide, or the nurse or doctor tending your gunshot wounds so that you can live, might be gay.
As you said, nobody knows what will happen exactly, but I do know that if the policy didn't exist, then they would not have kicked out thousands...yes THOUSANDS of troops. That, and the policy threatens an even greater number of troops.
I believe I have answered your questions, if you have any more, don't hesitate to ask.

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 16, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Shdwfrog says: "In regard to recruiting and retention, what about the thousands of men and women who are kicked out, or do not re-enlist due to the policy. It isn't the number of troops we should worry about, but the quality of the troop that are in, including the thousands that are gay, but still serving at this moment."

rowdyh says: First I would like to say, I have 3 combat tours, 2 Bronze stars, enlisted and officer. I also have no issue morally with gays serving openly...only as a policy issue.
What you say above does not answer the question shdw...unless you are saying that you will draft and that you "BELIEVE" it is viable politically to ask for a draft. Neither you nor I know what willhappen but if 10% of military personnel get out...then you must over 200,000 personnel and possibly many of them experienced. Even a draft will not fix that but I could live with it.

shdw says: "As said in another post somewhere, if you are worried about whether or not the guy next to you in a fighting hole is interested in you, your mind is in the wrong place. It is common sense that the person next to you would be more comfortable knowing your gay and not interested, than suspecting it and worrying whether or not you are taking an interest to him or her."

rowdyH: You are projecting. It matters not what you or I think people "should" think in a "foxhole". All that matters is reality and reality "may be" that those hardcore infantry types may not like openly serving gays in their units and leave...there is a very very small percentage of this American population willing to become infantry

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Well, this is the second day of the bombardment to allow open homosexuals into the military. Let's say they change the policy (and, I believe it is now a question of "when" not "if"). Do we treat homosexuals as a recognized minority like we now do women, non-whites, etc.? If so, they qualify to have a quota set for promotions and other items. Several states allow homosexuals to marry. Do we also allow these couples to request and occupy government housing? If you are single and attracted to the opposite sex how do you distinguished your bachelorhood from someone else's homosexual inclinations? If the majority of the military believe homosexuality is illogical and immoral how are you going to convince them that sodomizing your partner is acceptable behavior?

Posted by: djudge1 | April 16, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

shdw says: "I do care for the military, quite a bit being that I served myself, and have someone close to me serving now. What we are fighting is not the right to be in the military, we can still get in, even if we have to hide who we are. We are just tired of hiding, and furthermore, I think the trust and cohesion would be greater if we didn't have to hid behind a mask of lies.

rowdyh: I would hope, actually pray that you are correct. I would be extremely happy if that is how it would work out. But I do not know and sorry shdw, neither do you. So based on the lack of knowledge and the reality that you acknowledge of needing a strong military, how can we do this without risk?

shdw: If you are in the military, and serving overseas, just think about this. The man or woman talking to a guy in Arabic, trying to find out where the enemy is to save your hide, or the nurse or doctor tending your gunshot wounds so that you can live, might be gay.

rowdyh: I agree with you...but it does not fitthe numbers which is my issue. You nor i nor the guy who wrote the article know. No one knows what would happen if we allowed gays to serve openly. It could be a disaster and that being the case...what is the plan? No one has a plan ifthat is what happens...it is beyond irresponsible.

shdw says: "As you said, nobody knows what will happen exactly, but I do know that if the policy didn't exist, then they would not have kicked out thousands...yes THOUSANDS of troops. That, and the policy threatens an even greater number of troops.
I believe I have answered your questions, if you have any more, don't hesitate to ask.

rowdyh: Thousands of troops over the course of many years...I have seen the numbers and they are miniscule (not to minimize the issue) compared to the potential problem in recruiting and retention. I would like to know if those that support gays serving openly, with so much passion, would enlist, in the infantry, if my worries about multiple thousands getting out becomes fact. That is what I would love to hear from all of those in support...a belief "costs"

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

This is funny....I bet alot of the guys that are so against open gays in military ....are actually closeted gays themselves....very deeply in the closest and self loathing....He doth protest too much....

Posted by: nowhine | April 16, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

RE: "For all of those stating we should allow it, what happens if we lose alot of service people?" - - - - - - They threw out a lot of high-ASVAB gays who happened to speak Arabic. Was that good for our mission?

Posted by: Marcaurelius | April 16, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The same way everything else is distinguished. There are various religions, races, and other things like that, but that does not stop someone from serving. They live on, and know that their life is different than the persons next to them. Many people didn't agree with my religion or even my sexual preference if they found out, but they worked with me because I was a person. I gained the respect of many of those around me because of who I am, not what I do in my private life. Someone that they knew would fight with them no matter what I believed or my choices, but because I wanted to serve my country.
With housing, that is a different story, and not what we are fighting for, and is a whole different topic that would most likely require the repeal of a lot more than just DADT.
As for attraction, deal with it the same way they do now. If someone is gay, they know that not everyone else is. Even though some might express interest, many wouldn't push the issue if they were rejected. Its more about being comfortable with your sexuality.
It is not a fact that many of the military believe that homosexuality is illogical and immoral, and if they do that is their right, but I believe it is also the right for someone to serve without regard to who they are as a person.
And I don't know any partners in the military that have got down and committed homosexual acts in front of everyone in their unit. That stuff is for your private life, the only big change there would probably be is the ability for the partners of the currently serving and future gay military members to see them off when the military member is leaving overseas to risk his or her life protecting this country, just like all of the heterosexual couples do now.
I wouldn't try to convince any of my brothers that what I do in my private life is acceptable behavior because everyone has their own opinions, they don't have to witness it or think about it if they don't want to because that is their choice.

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 16, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I was in the Air Force in the late 1980's, 90's and got out in 2002 and worrying whether or not a guy is getting aroused around you is ridiculous. Isn't this the same argument men were making about women being in combat? It's every troops responsibility to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and if they can't, they should then be kicked out as opposed to assuming they will do wrong.

What's the difference with don't ask don't tell? I've seen guys and women that I was pretty sure were gay, but am I going to focus on that and suddenly can't do my job because I can't think of anything else? Be realistic and do your job and stop flattering yourself thinking everyone is hot for you and control themselves and their urges. The same as I don't find every female attractive and want to have sex with her, I don't think every gay person wants to have sex with everyone they meet.

Posted by: jamesganderson | April 16, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

jmason3331: So the majority of combat vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, who support letting gays serve openly, have "little to no understanding of military life, rules and command and control of troops in the field." So these combat vets, who "have served in the field, under close quarters in foxholes," don't understand the realities of warfare?

And you know better? You say these combat vets don't understand the military. You say these combat vets are stupid. You say these combat vets don't care about the military.

Who appointed you as Commissar of Sexual Correctness, comrade?

Posted by: Garak | April 16, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

The military brass got it RIGHT.

But that is hateful to the left.

To the looney left, all that is right is wrong.

Knee jerk reaction.

I served in the Army for three years and knew of several homosexual soldiers.

Everyone knew who they were. They were just plain creepy. Not the sort any NORMAL man would want to share a foxhole with.

That's the facts. Sometimes truth gets in the way of lefty, social pipe dreams.

Posted by: battleground51 | April 16, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

It opens up a entire genre of new fiction... think of the possibilities: Brokeback Foxhole....

Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | April 16, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

This country is so messed up. We spend all this energy on debating gay this and gay that, when we've got serious issues to address. There will always be gays. Get over it and let's move on. After all, this is the US land of the free. We'd better start living that or we will all end up slaves to the religious nuts.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | April 16, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

As always with this issue, the wrong arguments are being advanced. There are two ways to fairly integrate gays into the military: 1) Give every soldier their own private room on deployment; or 2) If unable to do #1 then house men and women together. Until you do one of those two things, allowing gays to serve openly creates a disparity in how heterosexual and homosexual soldiers are treated.

And the issue is not whether gay soldiers can serve and do the job as well as any straight soldier--of COURSE they can. I'm appalled at the amount of space in all these comments that is wasted on that issue. Anyone who believes that gays cannot serve because they will upset the straights just by being there is homophobic. But it is perfectly reasonable--and not at all homophobic--to come to the same conclusion for different reasons owing to the unique nature of the problem.

The issue is not that gays are serving now. The issue is that if they are allowed to openly serve WITH LEADERSHIP'S APPROVAL, they will automatically assume special command-recognized privileges unavailable to straight soldiers: the possibility of being able to be with their partners (if they share the same unit--not necessarily common, but certainly not rare...and more common as deployments stretch longer) in the private spaces while on deployment. And no, I'm not talking about showers or bathrooms or beds. I'm talking about the things that any adult relationship is built upon: Talking together before going to sleep. Knowing that they are close by as you relax. Simply spending your quiet private time in each others' presence. The potential to exercise those privileges is currently denied to straight soldiers, and would not be to gays.

The longer this debate is framed around the perceived right to serve of a few vs. the perceived discomfort of a few, the less productive and more strident it will be. Yes, the Generals are ignorant and homophobic. But that doesn't make their conclusion about DADT wrong. Until straight soldiers have those privileges (none of which involve sex, touching, or anything else at all that could be labelled inappropriate behavior under the UCMJ) we cannot OPENLY admit (DADT avoids the central problem: that of open command approval) an entire group to the military that would receive those privileges by default. It would openly create two approved tiers of soldiers, violating the most basic principle of military leadership: equal treatment of all under your command.

Posted by: Muddyone | April 16, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

These 4 neanderthal morons are not ashamed of being homophobes openly. I wonder what serving under them would have been...gay or straight. They must have been the sadistic commanders you read in stories.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | April 16, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I can just see those unfettered, public, same sex orgies that are called "gay pride parades" taking place in all America's military bases.

Will we not have a trendy armed forces then.

The envy of Denmark, Sweden, and Belgium.

Just fabulous!

Posted by: battleground51 | April 16, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Canada, Germany, Israel and Sweden allow homosexuals to serve in the military. From the 1993 GAO report, 'Homosexuals in the Military', these countries acknowledge that they have no problems with homosexuals serving alongside heterosexuals. Then they say why:
'Military officials in all four countries said that the presence of
homosexuals in the military is not an issue and has not created problems
in the functioning of military units. A key factor, they said, was that
homosexuals are reluctant to openly admit their sexual orientation for a
variety of reasons.'

Posted by: KathyWi | April 16, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I served 10 years in the Army from 1994 to 2004. I am a heterosexual and I was not "open" about it. I got up early and did my job to the best of my ability. Having the ability to express my sexuality, sanctioned or not, had no consequence to my ability to do the mission. Rest assured, there are plenty of homosexuals currently in the military. They just choose to put mission first and sexual expression somewhere well below that, just like me. I appreciate the general public's input to this discussion and absolutely welcome it. What I take issue with are hard pressed opinions from people who have never served, have no intention of serving, but yet offer their own social views without appropriate or informed knowledge of military social culture.

Posted by: PitchMan99 | April 16, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I am trying to be civil about this so if I hurt anyone's feelings I apologize. Let's get down to the real issue here. It is about acceptance of a lifestyle that is counter to what society sees as 'abnormal' period. Gays want the right to exist, I know that. I am not a "Commissar of Sexual Correctness"(Garak) but seeing two grown hairy men kissing each other in public creeps me out. I don't "wear panties"(ExPat2) I am a man, and male soldiers don't wear them. How can I make this point any clearer? Absent any technical references, you can't be homosexual without the 'sex' so there you have it. You can't convince me that sodomy between to males and the lifestyle (public sexual affections)that comes with it is normal or somehow related to the African American civil rights movements. (yes, I'm black also) This whole issue is about changing peoples ideals of what is and not acceptable. Gays want to force the issue by changing the rules and making society comply with what you see as a 'normal' social structure. (like men wearing panties, you said it first, not me) America has maintained the most powerful military force today with the same strict rules and guide lines for over two hundred years. Why risk changing these rules which has served the whole world so well, just to allow a small segment of society to impose their unconventional personal lifestyle? I am not naive, I know there are gays who quietly serve with distinction. I'm just saying that society (at least American) in just not ready to break down that wall, for the reasons I just explained.

Posted by: jmason3331 | April 16, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I too noticed the rather obvious rhetorical choice of countries. They certainly did not want to mention Great Britain as among those without a discriminatory military policy - the country that has sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Iraq to do exactly what American soldiers do there. So what was their ultimate message? Either that the sexuality of American service men is especially easily threatened or that they lack the professionalism of other armies. Nice.

Posted by: Dieterman | April 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

When DADT is repealed I don't see everyone coming out of the closet and running up to kiss anyone they can. What I do see is that when the absurd policy is repealed, the currently serving and future soldiers that are gay will not have to worry about being kicked out just because they like someone of the same sex back home.
In a study, 81% of Americans support the repeal of this policy. Not because they believe that the lifestyle we choose is correct, but because we are Americans that want to or have served our country. For me, I would have been happier and more proud of serving if I didn't have to do it hiding behind a mask of lies.

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I served for 17 years in various roles ranging from combat paratrooper to Broadcast Journalist. In that time I'm sure I served with gay/lesbian soldiers and I never had an instance of a soldier that showed unprofessional conduct.

This is the fundamental flaw in the argument against allowing these Americans to serve their country. Your sexual preferences have nothing to do with your job performance just like in civilian life. If someone chooses to be gay/lesbian while serving in the military then who cares as long as they are professional on the job?

The people against gays/lesbians are the same ones that were likely against the integration of blacks and women into to more prominent roles within the military. The reasons they gave then were astoundingly ignorant and it appears that the tradition continues.

Here is the issue both sides of this issue should agree upon. No one's sexuality matters on the job. As long as people are professional soldiers and do their job then this should not be an issue.


Posted by: A-Contrario | April 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

To the soldiers/Marines/sailors/airmen who will leave because you can't bear to serve beside a gay person....DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE A$$ ON THE WAY OUT!

Posted by: SeaTigr | April 16, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If completely hiding your sexuality is so good for military discipline, then here's a fair solution. Let's apply the same standard to all service members regardless of their sexual orientation. Nobody in the military should be allowed to openly admit their sexual orientation, whatever it happens to be. Any service member who openly admits any type of personal sexual preference should be immediately discharged. See how silly this policy is when it's applied equally to everyone?

Posted by: Freestinker | April 16, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Reading these posts, I find it very amusing that so many "hardcore" or big, strong, tough, macho American infantrymen are clearly terrified of gays. Terrified! I say, let these cowards leave the service if they are so homophobic. Who needs them?

There are many "big, strong" American men who would also refuse to serve if there were women next to them. Or if there were people of color. These are not our heroes! These people are insecure and frightened. Let homophobes and haters stay out of the military, and let actual, decent, and BRAVE people fight for their country.

Posted by: cturtle1 | April 16, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

jmason331, sorry but you can't speak for American society. You cannot say with absolution that society isn't ready for gays to serve openly. The "society" you speak of is the same one that fought the suffergettes, and civil rights.

Posted by: katem1 | April 16, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know how many Americans out of 307 million are:

1. Lesbian
2. Gay Male
3. Bisexual
4. Transgender/Sexual
5. LGBT Allies/Supporters

I ask, because I speculate the numbers could be in the millions, not thousands. If so, then perhaps these millions of discriminated-against Americans and their Allies could re-direct their willingnes to fight and become disabled/die for our nation to fighting against those citizens who continue defending, rationalizing, and practicing their bigoty.

By "fight" I mean be willing to break laws, riot, battle police, go to jail, shut down businesses, even their life to protect/defend freedoms, rights, and privileges denied the LGBT/A communities.

When President Obama openly proclaimed he was against Gay Marriage, beyond being an opportunistic politician who panders to bigotry, he was saying in effect to the LGBT communities: We heterosexist/ homophobic citizens value your work, tax dollars, and all other contributions you make to the nation as oppressed citizens. But we don't value, respect, and love millions of you equally, comparably, as we love ourself. We deem you 3/4 of a human being -- and a deviant one at that! But, yes, please continue to contribute to your nation -- fight for, become disabled for, even die for your nation as soldiers (male and female) and as civilian victims of hate-crimes, discrimination, and psychological oppression.

If our political leaders (local, county, multicultural President, doesn't think millions of LGBT citizens are not worthy of 100% citizenship, but nonetheless should contribute 100% as citizens, then should not these devalued, marginalized, oppressed, often attacked and murdered, citizens "fight back" -- to not only defend and protect our nation but also their life, communities, and fundamental right to participate as 100% equal citizens!

Posted by: GroupThink | April 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Geesh. From reading some of these posts, you'd think a bunch of 7th graders from 1962 were posting them. Soap in the shower. That's a good one! Soldiers wearing panties. Another good one! Good heavens, people! Anyone gay person who would want to serve in the military is going to be the military type. They are going to have that mindset that allows them to be soldiers and follow the rules. Those of us who are NOT the military type will not be joining, so stop your worrying.

Posted by: jaynashvil | April 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The first article used ridiculous reasoning and tried the ol' manipulative approach .. starting out with conclusions already reached, that gays serving "openly" in the armed forces would be bad for morale. As this writer points out, there's no evidence of that, none but the squeamishness of a few insecure bigots who are probably worried that they WOULDN'T be hit on.

The same arguments were made against racial integration, made by the same knucklewalkers who in the end would follow their orders or get court-martialed or discharged, dishonorably, one hopes.

Grow up, America. There are gays in the armed forces already, serving honorably. Go to a gay bar in Norfolk and look how many regulation haircuts you see.

This is one of those recent things like the Kansas school board, the torture of POWs, and the invasion of Iraq that make me ashamed of my country.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 16, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

some moron wrote:
"Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God."

==

Homosexuality is not a "practice." As for "God," keep your imaginary playmate out of the discussion. Let "God" speak for itself, if it can.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 16, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Here is the ISSUE! NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO RECRUITING AND RETENTION! If you do not know that, then you must have a plan if it falls off due to gays serving openly...the rest of this nonsense about rights or thoughts or so called beliefs or the Israeli (draft) army are ridiculous! If all of you that support gays serving openly REALLY believe this is important...it is important to your belief system, then SAY NOW, that if gays serve openly and recruiting and retention goes down, you will sign up to take the place of that "homophobe"...preferably infantry...anyone wanna take that bet?

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Amen.

I have friends, who are in the military, and they know who's gay and they say they don't care because they serve honorably and they would never tell on them.

Gays/lesbians have been in the military since the beginning of time and have served as honorably as straights.

It's time for us to stop pretending. This is the same argument to keep blacks out or in separate units.

Posted by: rlj1 | April 16, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Thank you thank you thank you! It is beyond antiquated in this day and age to discriminate when hiring people. I grew up in the military, and in the military culture. To think that people I grew up around had to hide their identity is so very wrong to me.

It is not only an honor to serve, but the American people are honored to be served by such amazing soldiers who should not be punished and have their rights stripped, they fight to protect everyone else's rights!

I hope that don't ask don't tell is done away with during this administration, I am not sure when the next administration. I am not saying there will not be bumps in the road, but that doesn't make it right to remain in the past.

Posted by: Alli_son_177 | April 16, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I think the military should keep the status quo.I have nothing against gays,but I think that the men would not accept living with gays at such close quarters.It would lead to too much instability in the forces.You know that gays are only marginally accepted in society by males,and in some cultures not accepted at all.That will change over time,I think it's too soon for openly stated gays in the military.

Posted by: angolaau | April 16, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Chrisfox8 says: "The same arguments were made against racial integration, made by the same knucklewalkers who in the end would follow their orders or get court-martialed or discharged, dishonorably, one hopes."

rowdyh: You are totally missing the point. You can make the argument that it is the same as racial integration (I dont agree) but the situation now as opposed to 1948 is ALOT different. The primary difference is that we had a DRAFT. So that meant we would have the bodies needed by the force of the state to fight wars such as Korea...Are you stating that you would gladly welcome a draft if we did notmeet our recruiting and retention goals due to gays serving openly? And Chrisfox8, do you feel strongly enough about this issue, to replace the so called knuckledraggers in the infantry if allowing gays to serve openly pushes the knuckledraggers out?

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

katem1, As an American and a soldier, I have an opinion in this matter also. I have noticed that the majority of comments so far has been slightly biased. I don't expect to get many favorable comments in such a lopsided discussion. However I feel I have laid out my points of view clearly, no malice was intended.
Many good points have been raised. But I don't assume anyone here to be an expert. I can appreciate your views, weather you are actually gay or not.

Posted by: jmason3331 | April 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

All those who have Not served in the military, please stand up.

Thank you, now sit down and be quiet because you don't have a clue about military life.

Posted by: spamsux1 | April 16, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

rowdyh says:

"All that matters is reality and reality "may be" that those hardcore infantry types may not like openly serving gays in their units and leave...there is a very very small percentage of this American population willing to become infantry"

My son is an Army infantry soldier currently serving his second deployment in Iraq. He served his first deployment in Ramadi during 2006-2007 and if you have been following the war you know that is hard core.

He is a 24 year old sergeant and tells us that he knows gays server with him in the Army and he is fine with it. He is more worried about who he can trust in a combat situation that he is about sexual orientation. When you are dodging IEDs in Ramadi you really don't have time to worry about the sexuality of your fellow soldiers. He also tells us he has never had trouble telling anyone, male or female, that he was not interested and is not worried about gay advances.

One thing did cause a problem, though, and it was when his married first sergeant was backing out of missions to visit his girlfriend on another base. My son spoke for his soldiers and told him to cut it out because it was bad for unit moral.

Posted by: MsAlley1 | April 16, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse


shdw says:In a study, 81% of Americans support the repeal of this policy. Not because they believe that the lifestyle we choose is correct, but because we are Americans that want to or have served our country. For me, I would have been happier and more proud of serving if I didn't have to do it hiding behind a mask of lies.

rowdyh: Shdw, you have not addressed my issues. I stated and will continue to state that if you are wrong, and recruiting and retention fall off, then what? You have failed to answer this question...if you say "Draft" do you think it is politically feasible and if so, can you imagine the blow back on the homosexual community? If they were to draft to replace all of those homophobes serving (and there are ALOT, especially in Combat Arms where the killing and dying happen) I wonder what the average American would think of the Homosexual "right" to serve then...hey, I wish that gays could serve openly and that there would not be a bump in the road...I dont think, based on 22 years and 4 months of service that this is the case...and if I am right, someone needs to come up with an answer...or all you believers in these "rights" needs to step and sign up to defend your so called belief///

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

MsAlley1 I do understand your sons point...he could be 100 percent correct. I applaud his service...but read what I said. He does not know what will happen to the larger force anymore than I do...I am saying that no one knows! If you do not know what is going to happen, then you should have a plan (unlike how we went into Iraq). If recruiting falls off, if retention goes down, what do we do? I am asking you?

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

independent123 says "Being anti-war, I hope gays do enter the military. That will reduce the military's effectiveness and hopefully prevent this country from killing as many innocent people around the world. Consider the poverty and child malnutrition among the Pashtun, and the fact that we are killing them with flying drones. It's like out of StarTrek and who are the bad guys?"

rowdyh: I would say you are an isolationist then? Also, you know so little about Afghanistan and its recent history it is embarrasing. Did you know thtthe Americans bring in a Jordanian Hospital in Mazar E Sharif that treats 600 people a day? That there was no hospital north of the Hindu Kush mountain range until that happened? Did you know thatunder the Taliban women were treated worse than livestock? Did you know there are two hosptials at Bagram right now devoted to helping the local populations, especially women? Same in Kandahar? Do you know that the infrastructure improvements suchas highways have reduced cost of basic necessities arithmetically? What do you actually know about Afghanistan independent? HOw nice to be oh so holy huh? You should get some facts before stating knucklehead stuff...

Posted by: independent123

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Rowdyh2:

I believe my son speaks for the soldiers of his generation. Young people are much more likely to have grown up around openly gay people and to be accepting of them.

I know many soldiers through my son and also volunteer with a group that serves the military, giving the the opportunity to know many more. The soldiers of today are professionals. They are concerned with learning their jobs and performining their missions to the best of their ability. I am more proud of my son and his fellow soldier that I can possibly say. You and others who think they will leave the service just because gays are allowed to serve openly insult them.

You are very worried that allowing gays to serve in the military would harm retention but I think that is a very, very, minor problem compared to the real reasons retention is diffcult. For many of todays soldiers repeated deployments are a much bigger problem than the sexuality of others.

My son will be married for 3 years in June and will have spent 20 months deployed. He gets back from Iraq in Jan. and his unit already has orders for a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. Now you tell me, is he more likely to leave the Army because he knows someone who is gay, or because if he stays in he will spend 3 of his first 5 years in the Army in war zones?

Posted by: MsAlley1 | April 16, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Ms Alley, we know today that we can retain soldiers after multiple deployments (much to my surprise). Do you know what willhappen if gays serve openly? And if you are wrong, then what is your answer to fix it? (also, I applaud your sons service...it is incredible that he is doing that over and over again. Please send my gratitude)

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

First it was blacks, then it was women, and now it is homosexuals. Eventually, the US will drop the hypocrisy and cease their discriminatory practice against gays in the military. It's really only a matter of time. If ten percent of the Joes want to leave, let 'em. The military is no place for close-mindedness and intolerance of other cultures and lifestyles. Sorry, old guard, but this will come to pass.

Posted by: John_Keats | April 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Rowdhy2:

My son and his fellow soldier reenlist despite multiple deployments because they are professionals. They chose military service and in most cases they chose what they wanted to do in the service. My son is a warrior and chose the infantry because it is what he always wanted to do with his life. He does his job and focuses on the mission.

You are selling him and his fellow soldiers short by your suggestion that many would leave rather than serve next to openly gay soldiers. As I said in my first post, he knows which of his fellow soldiers are gay but right now they serve in secret. You also served with gay service members, you just didn't know it. I do not think most young soldiers are as bothered by gays serving openly as you older guys are and I think you are very much exagerating the potential retention problem.

My son would be more likely to reenlist if he was not married, the repeated deployments are hard on his marriage. I hope you are as passionate about the stresses causes by deployments as you as about gays.

Posted by: MsAlley1 | April 16, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I suppose men and women soldiers should go ahead and share bunks in the name of diversity?

Posted by: BinkyLover | April 16, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

This issue concerns me. I served in the Marines for six years where you have 60-80 men living together in close quarters. An openly gay soldier might actually be in danger. Even gays will agree that there is a lot of anti-gay sentiment in America, and in the military it intensifies. it may be a noble gesture, but I feel it's like sticking the fuse in a stick of dynamite.

Posted by: tiotom77 | April 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

MsAlley
No disprespect intended. I have three deployments under my belt and when not deployed a whole lot of 80 hour weeks under my belt. I was an infantry Sergeant also prior to becoming an Armor officer. I am asking you a simple question: what if you are wrong about gays serving openly? What then?

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

rowdyh2,

How was recruitment affected when blacks were allowed to serve? Blacks joined and the bigots left. No great loss there.

How was recruitment affected when women were allowed to serve? Women joined and more bigots left. Again no great loss.

How will recruitment be affected when gays are allowed to serve openly? More gays will join and more bigots will quit. This is exactly as it should be.

Personally, I think you don't think you are giving our service members enough credit but even if many of them do leave, I'll happily trade narrow-minded bigots for fair-minded, freedom-loving patriotic Americans every time.

Every single time.

Posted by: Freestinker | April 16, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Freestinker:How was recruitment affected when blacks were allowed to serve? Blacks joined and the bigots left. No great loss there.

rowdyh: First you are talking to a servicman who has dealt with both recruiting and retention issues. Second, when blacks were integrated (they always served), there was a draft...now my question to you, freestinker, is how are you going to fill the ranks if many people leave? HOW? Dont tell me about the rights, or the Israeli (Draft) army...are you willing to draft? If so, is it politically feasible? Are you willing to sign up yourself? If not, then please do not bother me with these pretend beliefs you supposedly hold.

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Bigots never change, just their victims.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | April 16, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Why are so many people concerned that someone of the same sex might be aroused by their mere presence? Do they have the same fears about someone of the opposite sex having the same attraction to them? What, exactly, would be the difference? Inappropriate sexual confrontation is inappropriate no matter WHO is making the advances. People's private fantasies are exactly that: private.

Would the stale arguments change at all if the military required straight people to hide their marriages and children because they are a drag on the forces' efficiency. They bring lots of dollar costs and emotional baggage to the troops. Maybe we should request that straight people no longer bring their personal lives to work with them. Fair?

Posted by: paquers | April 16, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

paquers |
What if you are wrong, and recruiting and retention fall off, then what? ...if you say "Draft" do you think it is politically feasible and if so, can you imagine the blow back on the homosexual community? If they were to draft to replace all of those homophobes serving (and there are ALOT, especially in Combat Arms where the killing and dying happen) I wonder what the average American would think of the Homosexual "right" to serve then...hey, I wish that gays could serve openly and that there would not be a bump in the road...I dont think, based on 22 years and 4 months of service that this is the case...and if I am right, someone needs to come up with an answer...or all you believers in these "rights" needs to step and sign up to defend your so called belief///

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 16, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

jmason3331, you actually CAN be homosexual "without the sex," - the same way you can be heterosexual without "the sex." It's not as though attraction starts AFTER you've lost your virginity. Usually, straight people feel attraction to the opposite sex waaay before they ever sleep with anyone. Same difference with gays and lesbians. They are gay, even if they stay celibate their entire lives.

There's a decent chance that many gays and lesbians in the military would still choose not to come out to their fellow soldiers when this law is repealed. If you're gay, being surrounded by homophobic people can be scary as hell, even if the law is on your side. "I can sue them after they beat the crap out of me" isn't a very comforting thought.

I am truly sorry for the soldiers who feel traumatized by the idea of serving with gay men and women. You should be honored and commended for your service to our country. But your anxieties aren't a legitimate reason for this policy. Five years after the policy is reversed, it will be a complete non-issue, we will wonder what the fuss was about. Our grandchildren will look at us and ask "why did your generation try to keep gays out of the military, were you all a bunch of ignorant bigots?" I hope we can all look them in the face and say "no, we recognized it was wrong, and we made it right."

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | April 16, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Please-the real fear is that gay men and women may actually beome HEROES-oh GOD! Yes, gay men are tolerated a long as they remain eunuchs in service to straights. What is it about masculine gay men that freaks people out? I suspect that anytime people's stereotypes are challenged, panic ensues. (Remember the hysertia around "Brokeback Mountain"). This issue has never been about sex;there are already mechanisms in place to deal with that. Like China and North Korea, this is also a military-obsessed country that extols the virtue of service (at least verbally if not in policy)and the idea that gays may prove themselves just as brave, adept and tough (i.e. macho) as their straight comrades is a risk some in this country are still to anxious to take.

Posted by: stevenson503 | April 16, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

To claim that "team cohesion and concentration on mission" will suffer if gays are allowed in the military is a LOAD OF CRAP!!!

The military didn't seem at all concerned about team cohesion during the Vietnam War when they had no qualms drafting all those drug addled hippies that would rather get stoned and frag their commanders than prosecute the war.

The sole reason that these retired generals want to exclude gays from the military is because they are straight-up bigots.

Posted by: bugss6 | April 16, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

rowdyh2, I don't think you addressed my post. Are you talking at someone else?

I am not spouting an ideological "right" to volunteer. I don't think that's a right anyway. What I AM presenting for consideration is the idea of making people equal not by granting any special consideration to gay people but by removing the privileges enjoyed by straight people. Don't ask and don't tell -- ANYTHING. Just be a soldier. Leave your personal life out of the whole thing. When your enlistment is up, you can go back to your wife, kids, SO, whatever.

The effect on retention and recruitment is not really part of my question. Without doubt, the military ranks would be drastically affected. The question was presented in an attempt to make people who are dedicated to their viewpoint look at things a different way. Sometimes, perspective is required in order for people to stop yelling and start thinking.

Posted by: paquers | April 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Can you believe that it was not that long ago that military officials thought that whites would not sleep in the same bunks with blacks .. or take a shower with them. Now they want to use the same arguments about gays. When do we as a nation grow up? And for you Bible thumpers and your rants about God and homosexuality ... stop the voodoo already .. your god is not everyone's God.

Posted by: paris1969 | April 16, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The four retired officers who signed the Washington Post editorial are all over 70 years old, and have been retired since at least 1992. To put that into comparison, it would be as if, when Truman integrated the military in 1948, the policy was opposed by retired officers who had been born in the early 1870s, just a few years after the Civil War had ended, and who had left the military at the start of the Great Depression. These old fogeys are simply expressing the bigotry and prejudice of a generation whose time has passed. Indeed, because most servicemembers serve less than 20 years, there is almost no one left in the military who possibly could have served with these doddering old fools. They have no clue what the average soldier 50 years their junior thinks.

Posted by: jacobbergerj | April 16, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"First you are talking to a servicman who has dealt with both recruiting and retention issues. Second, when blacks were integrated (they always served), there was a draft...now my question to you, freestinker, is how are you going to fill the ranks if many people leave? HOW? Dont tell me about the rights, or the Israeli (Draft) army...are you willing to draft? If so, is it politically feasible? Are you willing to sign up yourself? If not, then please do not bother me with these pretend beliefs you supposedly hold."

--------------------------

rowdyh2,

Gays already serve now also so it's only the honesty factor that will change. Isn't honesty an important value to the military? Are you saying that most service members prefer dishonesty to basic fairness?

I seriously doubt that's true but if numbers do drop too low we'll do what we've always done ... increase the pay, bonuses, benefits, etc. until we get enough volunteers. I'm certainly willing to pay more taxes (if necessary) to hire and retain real professionals, who as patriotic Americans will respect and defend the freedoms of all Americans but I'll never be willing to trade basic fairness and ignore such obvious and senseless discrimination just for some cheaper labor.

I bet I won't have to though, because I think most of our service members are upstanding fair-minded professionals who really don't care about your sex life as long as you are a competent and loyal soldier. My money is on our soldiers' sense of fairness and duty while your money is on fear, prejudice, and discrimination. How sad.

Posted by: Freestinker | April 16, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The only change that will happen if we allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in our military is that we will be using their talents and skills rather than kicking them out and wasting those same talents and skills.

Posted by: homer4 | April 16, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

My 85 year old father, who served nearly three years in WWII combat driving landing craft on beach invasions in the South Pacific, watched the news report on this issue and said "I don't see what the big deal is. We had guys like that (gays) on board during the war. They did their jobs and we did ours. We all knew who they were and nobody cared.". I also served six years active duty as an officer in US Air Force, and feel the same way. Gays have served in all branches of the military and died for our country since the 1700s. Let them serve openly and proudly. It is us straights that have the problem, not the gays that are serving and want to serve.

Posted by: katieinwyoming | April 16, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart, you don't understand! There is no problem with anyone developing an attraction under Don't Ask Don't Tell because all of these gay and lesbian officers and gentlemen/gentlewomen are too busy racking their brains thinking up lies to answer questions that arise in ordinary polite conversation!

"So, are you seeing anyone?" [mumbled] "Oh, no, not now."

"So who'd you go to the opera with?" [mumbled] "Oh, just some friends."

"Are you married?" [mumbled] "No."

Having to scramble to hide a major segment of your life, your family, and your associates can take some real energy.

Seriously, though, these weak arguments (weakened morale, sexual attractions) have been used in the past; e.g., against admitting women to the fire and rescue service. What a stupid waste of human resources!

And forcing honorable people to tell lies is no way to hold up the morale and reputation of our armed forces.

Posted by: carlaclaws | April 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

rowdyh2, garrafa10,
When you follow the Constitution, the traditions of the Founding Fathers, and the wise counsel of great generals such as Dwight Eisenhower, then you fight when you have to and not otherwise. Simply controlling the Mexican border and keeping track of who is here would protect us better than these idiotic wars. One nephew was in Iraq and another is probably going to Afghanistan in the fall. Think of someone you care about who might be doing the fighting, then think if there isn't a better way, and then consider the supposed "enemy".

Posted by: independent123 | April 16, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

battleground51 wrote: "I can just see those unfettered, public, same sex orgies that are called "gay pride parades" taking place in all America's military bases."
==================================================
Yeah, right. Just like those unfettered, public, heterosexual orgies that happened in all America's military bases after women were given full inclusion.

Yeesh.

Posted by: carlaclaws | April 16, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What branch did Capehart serve with again?

Proponents of openly gay service members should step back and think: do you also support coed-locker rooms? Because that's essentially what you are advocating.

Posted by: k_romulus | April 16, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the argument that nobody who hasn't served themselves has any right to weigh in on this issue. Would you have said the same thing if the issue were whether blacks were allowed to serve side-by-side with white soldiers? What's right is right.

I have nothing but respect for the men and women who choose to serve their country through the military. Our nation has grown up a lot over the past few decades, and this is one of these major issues which will become a non-issue as soon as the policy is changed. Our military will still be able to recruit and retain servicemen and women, and to suggest otherwise shows disrespect for these patriots who have chosen to serve our nation.

And if God is so upset by inclusion of gays in our military, he or she is free to intervene and end war altogether so we can all live in peace...

Posted by: jerkhoff | April 16, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Most irksome is the writers’ reliance on worn out rationales for excluding gays in the military. "Team cohesion and concentration on missions would suffer," they wrote, “if our troops had to live in close quarters with others who could be sexually attracted to them." Their argument presumes that every homosexual in the armed forces is on the make. As if! "

Of course that is coming from MEN WHO SERVED and know what they are talking about. Not some smug, trendy writer from the WAPO looking to show oh how enlightened he is........

Posted by: pwaa | April 16, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart: Thank you for saying what I was thinking when I read that op-ed. You gave voice to my own feelings exactly. We have several gay and lesbian friends who have served (and are serving) in the military and who have done so with distinction and honor. I feel views like those in the previous op-ed do those brave men and women a disservice and assumes they are more akin to animals with no control over baser instincts (and that's assuming there is any attraction to begin with).

Posted by: croll | April 16, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Many fire and rescue companies have co-ed locker rooms and sleeping quarters. Why are they a hotbed of concupiscence? Maybe because they are mature, professional, conscientious adults who take pride in their work.

For years, the prevailing attitude of our society was "Men can't be trusted; therefore, we must lock up the women." My friends in the fire and rescue service have made me proud by proving this is ridiculous. My gay and lesbian friends in the military have already proven themselves likewise. How can people believe that, if they have the restraint and maturity to behave with courage and professionalism under DADT, they'll all somehow go off the deep end if they're allowed to serve openly?

Yeesh.

Posted by: carlaclaws | April 16, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

..sorry... that should've been "Why are they NOT a hotbed of concupiscense?"

Yeesh!!!

Posted by: carlaclaws | April 16, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank thank you

I served with many of both, and i never had as much of a problem with them as i had with my racist Commander or the two men who attacked me (later found out they were not stable) or the aryan coworker who constantly used the N word.

Not once did i ever feel uncomfy with my fellow Americans and soldiers who happen to be homosexual. Not only that, it is like any other sexual attraction, but when i told them NO, they actually accepted it and moved on. Unlike other straight people in the military....

sigh

Wuold trust them more than other troops, especially after bush lowered enlistment standards...

sorry for typos on my Iphone texting

Posted by: Aneko | April 16, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I think it's odd that Mr. Capehart has attracted the vicious comments from all the homophobes, while the comments on the retired generals' op-ed were overwhelmingly reasonable and supportive of gays.

The amount of ignorance about what it means to be a homosexual is astounding. Do people really believe that homosexuals are so different from everyone else, in that they are 100% defined by their sexuality? They're just like everyone else, defined by their gender, their sexuality, their math ability, their atheletic ability, their hobbies, their education, their family, their taste in literature, their preference for chocolate versus vanilla and coffee versus tea...

And I defy anybody in a foxhole under fire to get sexually aroused no matter who's in there with him.

Posted by: martimr1 | April 16, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Why do they need to be open, what is the advantage to that. I dont get it.

Posted by: foehammer | April 16, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Based on some of the comments to date, it is obvious that the U.S. must immediately withdraw from NATO and other international military organizations. After all, if our troops are deployed under those organizations, they will actually be working with gays from The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia, Israel, etc., etc., etc., who are open about their sexuality. And, horror of horrors, some of these gays may actually be MARRIED (Spain, The Netherlands, Canada) or in civil unions. Continued contact with the armed forces of these nations will obviously harm recruiting, retention, discipline and morale of the U.S. military. Of course, I don't know what we'll do in Iraq and Afghanistan, or with the pirate off Somalia, if we ask all our open allies to leave the scene. But not to worry, our oh so delicate soldiers will be saved from gays.

Posted by: MCR1 | April 16, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, from the comments here, the only negatives is uncontrolled/uncontrollable STRAIGHT behavior...

A year or two ago, some 170 gay linguists had been expelled from the military for Dont Ask Don't tell...

Linguists when we were desperate to understand the hours and hours, days, months, years of recorded conversation that may or may not have identified those killing our own...

From that day until this, I knew we did not have the proper generals in charge of our military...

Posted by: dutchess2 | April 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

rowdyh2, as far as I can tell, your only argument is "What happens if it DOES cause overwhelming numbers of soldiers not to reenlist? We just don't know!"

That, son, is the classic excuse for never doing anything worth doing.

If we do this and it turns out to cause huge numbers of soldiers to leave, we'll do what we've been doing since we quit using the draft, whenever enlistment numbers fall too low: Increase the incentives.

Better now?

Posted by: sjohntucson | April 16, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The poorly informed people who would deny gays the right to join the military are the same ones who cannot imagine a person like me. Grew up in small town Southern Virginia, the daughter of a Baptist Minister and a schoolteacher. Went to one of the more conservative schools in the state (Go Hokies!) and managed to live with my straight dorm roommate with no hanky-panky whatsoever - was the maid of honor at her wedding and godmother to her brood of kids. Now I'm just a nerdy accountant who takes meals to my elderly neighbor, take care of the house I've shared with my partner for 20 years, and pay my taxes. The galling part is that my taxes go to support the military that I was excluded from joining as a young woman...even though my supportive Navy Chaplain father readily admits that I'm the most "squared away" of his 4 kids, I did not want to lie in order to follow his footsteps in the service of my country. Now not only have I been denied the opportunity to serve my country (not pick up chicks -- there are other ways...please), but I was denied the medical coverage, retirement benefits, and travel opportunities that I am paying for with my taxes. These small minded men who would continue this policy had better start working on a plan to compensate me for my financial support of an institution that fully, institutionally discriminates against me. When they're done, we can apply it to the Social Security programs that their spouses will benefit from, that my partner will not, even though we pay to the same fund. It's revolting and shameful.

Posted by: patriotleft | April 16, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

BRAVO to the Gay men and women who serve and had the gumption to comment here. There is no question your performance in the field and your way with words, demonstrated in your respective postings, show us all the kind of leaders you are. All Americans should be proud of you.

Posted by: RobertKesten | April 16, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

To all the soldiers/Marines/sailors/airmen who would quit rather than serve with people who can freely admit their sexuality - DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE A$$ ON THE WAY OUT.

Personally, I love the arguments that basically say allowing gays to serve openly will result in unfettered promiscuity or somesuch nonsense. There's something I've always wanted to ask those folks: Why does being gay mean you can't keep your hands to yourself? Where do the Armed Forces get the moral authority to claim being paradigms of restraint in that area? Do any of you naysayers want to compare the number of cases in the military of males sexually harassing males to males sexually harassing females? Should I even bother mentioning Tailhook '91?

Posted by: SeaTigr | April 16, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I had several gay guys in my unit during the Reagan years. Fireman, construction workers, we got along fine.

In fact, I knew several crypto people that pretended to be gay just to get out early. That was definitely a big loss for DoD.

Posted by: don1one | April 16, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"The amount of ignorance about what it means to be a homosexual is astounding. Do people really believe that homosexuals are so different from everyone else, in that they are 100% defined by their sexuality?"

UMM yes, since they are steeped in perversion and have screwed up wiring that makes them attracted to men's hairy butts . Yes completely different then real men.

Posted by: pwaa | April 16, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

My father is not a man to bemoan injustices. He's hyperconservative and grew up during the Depression and WW2. I've never heard him moan or mourn about anything from his rather colorful past (which includes 3 marriages, sporadic wealth and poverty, estrangement from almost his entire family - oh jeez, too much drama to recount here), but one thing irks him to his core. He served in the Navy in the early 1950s. One of the officers he respected was nearing retirement. Just before that time came, the man was outed as gay and drummed out of the services with no pension and no benefits. The man's sexual orientation made no difference to my father, who served under him, and the raw deal that the man was given still enrages him to this day.

The military needs to stop hiding behind its adolescent squawking about it being "special" and "civilians don't understand." I think civilians can figure things out just fine, thanks.

Posted by: jrzwrld | April 16, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

pwaa, does your mommy know that you are posting on the internet? or are you (at least physically) an adult? you sure don't sound like a real man to me...

Posted by: jerkhoff | April 16, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Serving and wearing our nations uniform is a privileged Johnathan, not a right.

Posted by: Change081 | April 15, 2009 7:53 PM
==========================================
You are right it is a Priviledge.

The same privilidge that this country and the rest of the world has no problem with..

WHAT you have is Homophobia..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | April 16, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Much like with the gay marriage issue, I can't believe this is even an issue. It's not even worth discussing (or at least, it shouldn't have to be discussed in a reasonable climate)

I don't really give a cr@p what someone does behind closed doors with their sexual partner, as long as they are both consenting adults and it doesn't interfere with someone's work and/or responsibilities.

Besides - hasn't recent history shown us that those who complain most loudly about the evils of homosexuality are usually the ones who end up in some sort of homosexual sex scandal?

http://www.badmouth.net/top-five-republican-gay-sex-scandals/

I'm not saying these ex military men are homosexual, but they should perhaps acknowledge that those who most loudly voice opposition to homosexuality haven't been exactly paragons of heterosexual virtue. Which makes anyone who reads these types of statements either annoyed by their closed minded natures, or completely unconvinced of their arguments via proxy.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | April 16, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"Until you have served in the field, under close quarters in foxholes, two men shelter halves and such, the last thing you need to be concerned with is that your fellow soldier is getting sexually aroused for you."

My partner was a submariner. That's about as close quarters as it gets. For months at a time.

Most of the guys he worked with knew he was gay. They also knew he was very good at his job. Guess which they cared more about? The fact that he was good at his job.

Gay men and women can keep it 'in their pants' just like straight men and women are expected to. That's what the UCMJ is for.

If our soldiers are really so weak and undisciplined that the very thought of a gay advance on them sends them into a panic then we have much bigger problems than gays in the military.

Posted by: HillMan | April 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

foehammer,

If the statute is repealed, gays would NOT be required to come out. In fact, there is a decent chance that many gays and lesbians STILL won't come out if the statue is repealed. Currently, being homosexual is grounds for dismissal from the military. It doesn't matter what you have or haven't done, or even if YOU don't discuss your personal life with your fellow soldiers - if someone else can prove you're gay, you can get kicked out of the military. Most of the people who want to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" aren't asking for Pride Parades on military bases - we just want homosexuality to Not Be a Crime. We think gays should be able to serve in the military without worrying they'll lose their job if anyone finds out about their personal lives.

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | April 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Gays in the military should not be an issue, since sexual orientation should have NO PLACE in the government. Gays belong in the military and married and everywhere else! Having said that, there should also be NO LAWS giving special protection to any group based on sexual orientation. It takes Common Sense. Remember Thomas Paine, please see common sense at http://www.radicalwhig.org/

Posted by: RadicalWhig | April 16, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Proponents of openly gay service members should step back and think: do you also support coed-locker rooms? "

Um, we have straights and gays showering together on all kinds of sports teams, in public high schools and colleges, and in any number of professional occupations, like fire fighters, etc.

And we manage to do that without some horrible epidemic of gays hitting on straights.

I was a firefighter,and I'm gay as can be. I showered daily with dozens of men. Not once was did I ever have an urge to somehow hit on them

Posted by: HillMan | April 16, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

You mention "Israel, Italy or Great Britain."

These nations are not proper analogies to the United States in terms of the military culture.
Italy and Great Britain are a)much more socially progressive than the US and b) still do not perform the amount of service that the US military does.

In Israel, there is little incongruency between the civilian and military cultures, primarily because of compulsory military service. Israel is also a much more socially progressive culture than the US (the secular, non-religious population is of a bigger percentage there than here). Besides, people would start feigning homosexuality to get out of military service.

The US ought retain the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for now, despite it being bigoted and hateful. It is a reflection of the culture of the US military. While it may contradict the values of us often-liberal-minded washington post readers, the military ought have the right to restrict those who it cannot tolerate from duty. service in the US military is not a right.

Posted by: j762 | April 16, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"It is a reflection of the culture of the US military."

Not really. A lot of younger soldiers think DADT is out of date and will be done away with.

And you forget that Israel has a VERY strong religious conservative component to their society. Yet they've managed to have gays serve openly.

And Great Britain isn't nearly as liberal as you may believe, especially outside of the major urban centers.

Posted by: HillMan | April 16, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The main fear from the career leadership is that the armed forces will again be used as a "progressive's petri dish" for the mass socialization and forced acceptance of homosexuality. What ever you think about the issue from a religious, moralistic or familial issues, there is a point to be made about dropping the full weight of this issue into the force structure at this point in time. It will not be an easy landing when that is precisely what is needed and sought by the DOD Community after the Bush Cheney Irak years.

Look at it this way. If the draft were to come back, openly gay draftees would have an automatic "Get Out of Jail Free Card". The social stigma of being gay has been diluted to weak Kool Aid since the volunteer military was established in 1974.

Posted by: dollarsforgoofs | April 16, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

While I, a gay man, can understand why a graduated rollback of DADT has merit, the policy is an insult to every lesbian and gay veteran.

Some of the comments here are beyond belief. Just substitute gay for black and you could find the EXACT same excuses (moral, foxholes, showers, etc.) that were used to delay racial integration when Truman FORCED IT down the military's throat.

Unless the constitution has been changed, the military reports to a CIVILIAN authority/

Posted by: ethanquern | April 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

fr tartansailor:

>It's an abomination, and the Bible says so.
How can we ask for God's Blessing when we allow that.
Those poor souls need care, not a uniform.<

There is no cure for GLBT, but there is for BIGOTRY and HOMOPHOBIA. Avail yourself of some.

Posted by: Alex511 | April 16, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

One could have replaced "gay" with "negro" and that piece could have been written in 1946 - same worthless arguments that have never stood the test of time;

Posted by: gregBendOr | April 16, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Gays in the military should not be an issue. Anyone over 18 years of age who meets the qualifications for enlisting into the military should be able to serve our country. We live in a day and age when anyone who is not married by age ___ is suspect. I have news for people. There are many married people who do homosexual things in stressful or certain circumstances. Look at good old Ted H. The day that they start dismissing heteros for violating their marriage vows and raping female soldiers, then they can dismiss homos who actively practice their preference on other military personnel.

Statistically, there is another way to look at it. Why should those who remain become increasingly homo by percentge since the heteros are the ones being killed fighting our wars of choice?

Personally, I would not consider my malehood challenged just because there are some gays around. I have worked around them all of my life. In fact, it is the heteros that tell the off-color jokes and out the make on those other than their wives or significant others. Most gays that I know are discrete in the workplace.

Posted by: EarlC | April 16, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I am not homophobic, know gays in and out of the military, but there ARE issues.

First, I'd like to address the discussion of women in the military. They have NOT been integrated as smoothly and they have NOT performed as wonderfully as the media and upper level brass w/ knee pads before Congress would have you believe. They are held to a lower physical standard, they present sociological and sexual challenges in the field. Recommend reading "Co-ed Combat" by Kingsley Browne. Anecdotal, but is right on point with what I've seen.

Second, gays living with straight openly. That presents a problem. If a straight man feels uncomfortable that a gay man may be checking him out, why is that less of a problem than if a woman does not want to share berthing with men? I HAVE had to deal with female on female sexual harassment.

Third, the rule is no frigging in the rigging. No sex up and down the chain of command, but because we worry so much about perception OUTSIDE the military, we don't actually approach sex equally, the male takes the burden. How do we handle gay sex in the field and onboard ship? Do we prosecute or do we treat with kid gloves to avoid OUTSIDE pressure again?

Fourth, the diversity bullies have infiltrated the military. I get more sensitivity training (doesn't work and pisses me off more) than I do proper military training directly affecting the placing of warheads on foreheads. CYA-JAG mentality is pervasive and horrible. So, do I also have to deal with gay pride day on my military diversity calendar and get more bombardment from AFRTS telling me how the military could NOT have done the things it did without the gays?

If we allow gays to openly serve, they MUST be held accountable and to sexual standards wrt good order and discipline. And while we are at it, let's do the same for females. Remove ALL double standards and treat everybody as equal. If they can't hack it, kick them out.

Posted by: bman2 | April 16, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Errr, battlefield51, maybe your creepy comrades weren't gays at all, maybe just something like geeks, nerds, or Aspies. Did they ever say they were gay or you ever see them having sex?

Your discomfort factor does not a homosexual make.

If they're Aspies they are probably frustrated heterosexuals.

But as a 39 year old Aspie I am well aware that other people's discomfort of Aspies means that our talents are seldom used to their fullest extent in a work setting.

I have hung around http://www.aspiesforfreedom.com about two years. I can't find 10 people with a career, actually, I have to think to find five including me, and that is worldwide: a meteorological researcher in the U.K., a chemist in Australia, the AFF founder in the U.K. who does computer work, and myself, a Web developer in northern Virginia. I don't expect to use my Master's in social research ever again and I am glad it's paid for.

It has been estimated that 95% of Aspies are unemployed or underemployed.

Your misestimation reminds me of children and adults who thought I was mentally retarded when I was a child, based only on my social behavior. Special education can be the basis for a lot of false inferences by lay people as well. Going to college and demonstrating intelligence (and determination) does not happen until adulthood.

I don't creep out the sort of men and women I work and pray with. Your sort of soldiers, sir, must be nothing like the former Navy personnel we have working here. But I consider myself fortunate to be here as I know people run the gamut as far as how open and tolerant they are.

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | April 16, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Jonathon, you are absolutely correct, and the RETIRED, OLD flag officers have got it all wrong.

In fact, an article in Military Times, 12/29/2008 includes the following:

"David Segal, a military sociologist at the University at Maryland, drew a parallel
between the current debate and earlier discussions about changing the
composition of the force, from racial integration in the 1940s and 1950s to gender
integration in the 1970s."

"Segal described the nearly 10 percent of active-duty respondents who said they
would leave the military if the policy was overturned as “a relatively small
number.”

“That’s a smaller number of career officers than who in the 1970s said they would
leave the service if women were admitted to West Point,” Segal said. “They were
expressing a strongly held attitude. But when women were admitted to West
Point, there was not anything near that kind of exodus from the service.”
Similar debates have surfaced in other countries that recently lifted in the ban,
including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel, Segal said.
“None of the dire consequences that were expected occurred,” Segal said. “My
sense is, and this is just impressionistic, it was more peaceful than the gender
integration of the military.”

Not much else to say except that I served for 24 years and am a retired officer (although not an all-knowing flag officer), and I STRONGLY SUPPORT the inclusion of gays in the military and the end of the don't ask don't tell idiocy. Its time is past, and it is time to move on in a progressive manner.

Posted by: swanieaz | April 16, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

"Here is what is wrong with the discussion of gays serving openly. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO RECRUITING AND RETENTION! For all of those stating we should allow it, what happens if we lose alot of service people?..."

Well, let's see: There has been increasing discussion of changing the policy in the past year. Candidate and now President Obama supports the change and has so stated. The Media have indicated that the change is going to happen, and that it's just a question of when. And the effect on recruitment of all this has been?

"The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis had a 50 percent jump in applicants this year, eclipsing both the Military Academy at West Point and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, which also experienced significant increases."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/15/AR2009041503437.html

There is no good reason to ask good soldiers to lie. It's time to grow up, as a nation, and treat ALL those who choose to serve their country with respect.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 16, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I really doubt that any soldier feels more secure knowing that gay soldiers are lying to him or her. How does that make ANYONE feel more secure?

The answer of course is that it doesn't.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 16, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

"...If we allow gays to openly serve, they MUST be held accountable and to sexual standards wrt good order and discipline."

Is there anyone suggesting otherwise?

That's really the point: Gay people shouldn't have to pretend, for example, that they are single if they are not. They shouldn't have to worry about writing e-mail messages to their partners expressing precisely the same things their heterosexual peers express: "I miss you. I love you."

It's absolutely absurd to think that asking people to lie is helpful to anyone in this regard.

This isn't about sexual behavior. It's about who people are.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 16, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Why dont they let heterosexual men become girl scout leaders ? men can but with two unrelated women present,Why ? Why are men and womens changing areas and shower areas separate at public and private gyms. Its obvious, but when it comes to gays in the military , then we all forget common sense.
"not all men are on the make", so would you let yr daughter in a co-ed shower with a man ? yeah, all of a sudden it matters. Sexuality is obvious except gays geta free pass.

Posted by: snapplecat07 | April 17, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is if gays serving openly in the military comes to pass, I truly hope it does not ruin the best military in the history of the world. To those of you, who from your posts, speak down on the military and its present day soldiers (to include those soldiers who find homosexuality morally repugnant), you are unworthy of comment and you do not comprehend the sacrifice they make in your name.
I would like to see someone on here, anyone who believes so passionatly in this issue to state, if gays serving openly results in a substantinal decrease in our military population, that YOU WILL SIGN UP. However, I can see that the majority of posters in favor are posers. You "believe" in things to your "core" but are unwilling to back up those beliefs with anything more than snarky comments. As long as it costs you nothing, as long as you do not have responsibility, you are the oh so new moral majority.
Hey, I hope you all are right. My only concern is that this incredible institution of the US Military that we are so privledged to have is maintained. Many of you think it is easy to build and maintain such a force. It is not if history is any indication (u only have to go back to the 1970s to see what a disaster the US Army was).
If gays serving openly makes it stronger, then I will welcome it wholeheartedly. But if it does not, I wonder how many of you will stand up and say you were wrong. I bet that number is somewhere around the same number that would sign up if gays serving openly reduced our manpower to dangerous levels...Beliefs--HA...

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 17, 2009 2:33 AM | Report abuse

cturtle1 says: "Reading these posts, I find it very amusing that so many "hardcore" or big, strong, tough, macho American infantrymen are clearly terrified of gays. Terrified! I say, let these cowards leave the service if they are so homophobic. Who needs them?"

rowdyh: Hey Cturtle, they dont need them if you are willing to go intheir place...are you? You are so quick to insult those thatthink differently than you and degrade their sacrifice...so when are you signing up tough guy?

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 17, 2009 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Chest thumping? Is that what we, the great US of A, is about? Regardless of this stupid remark, there may be good reasons for gays to remain discreet in the military, as they have always been: it is a question of their own safety. Even if it is against the law to harass gays, it will always happen. When men are "queer" they scare other men and are subjected, for whatever strange psychological factors, to abuse. "Don't ask, don't tell" is the best policy. Gays have ways to find each other and always have, so let them continue in this way. Personally I prefer not knowing if a person is gay or not. There is something "in your face" about a gay insisting that I know he/she is gay. I don't want to know. Does this make me anti-gay? No.

Posted by: danigo | April 17, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

jmason says, "Until you have served in the field, under close quarters in foxholes, two men shelter halves and such, the last thing you need to be concerned with is that your fellow soldier is getting sexually aroused for you."

Oh cry me a river. The terrible fate that awaits heterosexual men if they have to acknowledge that sometimes somebody is looking at them with lust just makes me quake in my boots. This is a worse threat than IED's and other genuine hazards of military life? I trust at least that this level of horror you exhibit about possibly being sexually objectified means you look at the sexual harassment of women (in the military and anywhere else) with equal horror.

And, as ricklinguist points out, the issue is not, Do gays serve? They already do. It's, Do they get the same right you have, TO BE HONEST AND OPEN about their personal life.

Posted by: herzliebster | April 17, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

"...Why are men and womens changing areas and shower areas separate at public and private gyms. Its obvious, but when it comes to gays in the military , then we all forget common sense."

No, it's not "common sense".

There are gay people throughout society. Gay people grow up and are socialized exactly the same as everyone else: gay males, in high school, take gym and swimming classes along with all the other males. They shower in the male showers, along with all the other male students. They use the male bathrooms, just like all the other boys in high school. In my high school, a long time ago, all the boys were required to swim in the nude. All the boys. Society classes gay men as men, which, of course, they are. Men on one side, women on the other.

This is a matter of socialization, of how we as a society divide up public and private spaces. Doesn't have to be that way: in conservative, traditional Japan, entire families, male and female, bathed together. And even in modern, industrialized Japan, women cleaning ladies are always mopping up around your feet in the mens restroom at Narita Airport, while you're at the urinal. No one thinks anything of it, except us Westerners who are not used to it.

I am a gay man. In grad school, I had a close female friend who was a Lesbian. We'd no more consider showering together than I would consider using the women's restroom. It isn't about attraction. It's about socialization.

There are, today, gay soldiers sleeping right along side heterosexual soldiers, and showering right along side them. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" simply means the straight soldiers don't KNOW it, but they are certainly there.

No one can control other people's thoughts or fears. You NEVER know what another person is thinking of you. That straight soldier next to you in the shower may be internally comparing himself you. So? Frankly, what he thinks of you is none of your business. He needs to take a shower and mind HIS own business. And it has NOTHING to do with whether one is gay or not.

This always boils down to a pretty childish discussion: let's not let gay soldiers risk their lives for the country they love because SOMEONE hypothetically may feel a bit uncomfortable. Like risking your life in the military is supposed to be about feeling "comfortable"! Any soldier who thinks it is doesn't belong in the military to begin with.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 17, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

If a ton of (don't you dare call them homophobic!) brave, valiant soldiers up and leave the military because gay people don't have to hide who they are...

...then it never was about serving your country in the first place, was it?

If you love your country and want to serve and defend it, it shouldn't matter who is serving alongside you as long as they are giving 100% and serving honorably.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 17, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

For VTDuffman and ricklinguist...All I can say is if gays serving openly in the military comes to pass, I truly hope it does not ruin the best military in the history of the world. To those of you, who from your posts, speak down on the military and its present day soldiers (to include those soldiers who find homosexuality morally repugnant), you are unworthy of comment and you do not comprehend the sacrifice they make in your name.
I would like to see someone on here, anyone who believes so passionatly in this issue to state, if gays serving openly results in a substantinal decrease in our military population, that YOU WILL SIGN UP. However, I can see that the majority of posters in favor are posers. You "believe" in things to your "core" but are unwilling to back up those beliefs with anything more than snarky comments. As long as it costs you nothing, as long as you do not have responsibility, you are the oh so new moral majority.
Hey, I hope you all are right. My only concern is that this incredible institution of the US Military that we are so privledged to have is maintained. Many of you think it is easy to build and maintain such a force. It is not if history is any indication (u only have to go back to the 1970s to see what a disaster the US Army was).
If gays serving openly makes it stronger, then I will welcome it wholeheartedly. But if it does not, I wonder how many of you will stand up and say you were wrong. I bet that number is somewhere around the same number that would sign up if gays serving openly reduced our manpower to dangerous levels...Beliefs--HA...

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 17, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The US is so behind the times on this issue. I can't believe in this day and age people still harbor hatred and myths about gays. Well the US is a nation of Christians so nothing shocking here...as Ghandi said " I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians" Yes! religion has a lot to do with this issue. Young people in this nation (read the polls) are in much more supportive of gays compared to the older generations which will slowly die out. Concerning gays in military, why people have this mistaken notion that if the law changes gays are going to break out in show tunes and sexually harass the heteros - is beyond me. fact is- most gays will continue to bravely serve whilst keeping their sexuality to themselves. Gay people aren't stupid - they do know bigots are out there, they generally reveal themselves only to comrads they can trust. This whole issue is making a mountain of a molehill. Were not people making grave assumptions when the issue was women in the military?

Posted by: Grobnik | April 17, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Dizzying! That some of us are so insecure with our sexualities, our marriages, our faiths that we fear "being changed" by proximity to those who are or hold different perspectives underlies all the social phobias past, present, and future. We evolve, our societies evolve (or die), and our "norms" evolve. Those who ask to contribute to our society, whether in the military, civilian service corps, or elsewhere in the life of this country should be welcomed, encouraged, and supported. What kind of society is it that the "excluders" really want? Mr. Capehart is right. It is past time for this petty, irrational separation of our society. Let's grow up!

Posted by: Jazzman7 | April 17, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Jazzman, you are simplifying this alot. There could be serious repercussions. This is not change the uniform color...All I can say is if gays serving openly in the military comes to pass, I truly hope it does not ruin the best military in the history of the world. To those of you, who from your posts, speak down on the military and its present day soldiers (to include those soldiers who find homosexuality morally repugnant), you are unworthy of comment and you do not comprehend the sacrifice they make in your name.
I would like to see someone on here, anyone who believes so passionatly in this issue to state, if gays serving openly results in a substantinal decrease in our military population, that YOU WILL SIGN UP. However, I can see that the majority of posters in favor are posers. You "believe" in things to your "core" but are unwilling to back up those beliefs with anything more than snarky comments. As long as it costs you nothing, as long as you do not have responsibility, you are the oh so new moral majority.
Hey, I hope you all are right. My only concern is that this incredible institution of the US Military that we are so privledged to have is maintained. Many of you think it is easy to build and maintain such a force. It is not if history is any indication (u only have to go back to the 1970s to see what a disaster the US Army was).
If gays serving openly makes it stronger, then I will welcome it wholeheartedly. But if it does not, I wonder how many of you will stand up and say you were wrong. I bet that number is somewhere around the same number that would sign up if gays serving openly reduced our manpower to dangerous levels...Beliefs--HA...

Posted by: rowdyh2 | April 17, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

rowdyh2 wrote, "All I can say is if gays serving openly in the military comes to pass, I truly hope it does not ruin the best military in the history of the world..."

Well, if I thought there were ANY chance that it would ruin our military-- ANY chance whatsoever, you would see me in front yelling and screaming to keep DADT.

I don't believe it even for an instance. It's illogical. And, if you look at the history of opposition to gays serving in the Military, it is crystal clear that political opposition preceded the arguments!

Indeed, the arguments kept shifting over time as, one by one, they became obviously untenable. The only one left ("unit cohesion") wasn't even mentioned early on. It was an afterthought.

And it was, and remains a TACTIC to oppose gay people serving in the Military.


Gay people ARE serving in the Military, with honor, right now.

Why on earth would they STOP serving with honor if they didn't have to lie about who they were? Frankly, it's an immoral policy.

And utterly bankrupt of any logic that I can see.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 17, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

"Personally I prefer not knowing if a person is gay or not. There is something "in your face" about a gay insisting that I know he/she is gay. I don't want to know. Does this make me anti-gay? No."

Would you support a rule that says that married soldiers are forbidden from telling anyone that they are married? Forbidden from having photos of their spouses in plain view of others? Forbidden from having their spouses see them off or welcome them back? Forbidden from ever saying "I love you" to their spouse within earshot of anyone who might be in the Military?

If you are ok with all that, then fine. Gay people can also keep their lives and loved ones out of the picture.

If not, then, well, I think you aren't thinking through what you are asking of brave gay soldiers: to shut out the most important person in their life just so that YOU don't feel that the gay person is "in your face" about his or her life.

I don't know many people who would do that. Do you?

Yet good, honest, moral and patriotic gay soldiers are REQUIRED to.

That's got to strike you as wrong, no?

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 17, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Those that want to lift the ban want to treat the military like a corporation.

In corporate America, I work with gays and lesbians all the time and we are a very productive company. At the end of our shift, we all go our separate ways to our homes and our lifestyles.
In the military, at the end of your shift, you might return to your "home", a 2-person tent you share with a gay or lesbian. If that's OK with you, good for you.
If the corporate American posters want to do an experiment, then I'd encourage you to invite one of your gay or lesbian coworkers to go camping with you where you and he/she can get to know each other better one on one. Bet there won't be many takers.
In the military, you don't get a choice and will be MADE to go camping...enjoy the "change."

Posted by: powerange | April 17, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Dear powerange,

With respect, you leave out a crucial part in your analogy:

It doesn't MATTER whether you like your coworkers, gay or straight or whether you know which ones are gay and which ones are straight. Or which ones you want to go 'camping' with or not.

They're part of the company, and you need to do your job, they need to do theirs. When you're working on a team project, you all work on it together, as a team.

Team members who cannot get along because they don't like some characteristic of some of their coworkers need to focus on the job and do it right.

Some member of the team might not like people of some religion or some race. One member may not like the one with the funny accent. And there may even be some who don't like the gay ones. So?

I assume that most team members are more than capable of putting aside their personal pet peeves about their coworkers --if they really care about getting the job done.

The ones who cannot have a problem, and need to deal with it. Pronto.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 17, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

ricklinguist, with all due respect, you missed my point. I'll work with gays and lesbians all day long and currently do in my civilian job. We work well together, get along together and I have nothing but good things to say about their work ethic. I just don't want to live with them. The further analogy would be heterosexual men being made to sleep in close quarters with women...most spouses wouldn't like that either. The military is not a corporation...it's a dictatorship (in a nice way) where you are told what to do and you do it. 30 years in uniform taught me to obey the rules and DADT has worked despite the examples of "linguists" being forced out when they are in such demand. We can continue to disagree, but I again challenge you to go camping in a 2-person tent with a gay friend. Happy trails to you. The military isn't corporate America and I'd argue the American public wouldn't want it to be.

Posted by: powerange | April 18, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

powerange wrote, "...I just don't want to live with them..."

I do understand. And you may also not want to live with Jews, or people who like rap music, or the guy who was once convicted of a felony (and is allowed to serve "openly") or a guy who has a foot fetish.

How many people do you think would choose to live with someone with a foot fetish? Or who was convicted of a felony?

My point remains: It doesn't matter. In the Military, you get to live with all kinds of people, some with traits you admire, some that you hate, and some that you just don't get.

Doesn't matter. You do your job. And you work and live along side all sorts of people.

You've picked out one trait that YOU don't like.

And what about people who don't like a trait that YOU have and that THEY don't like?

What do we do? Decide who gets to serve in the Military based on a popularity contest?

That simply won't work. You HAVE to live and work with others. All kinds of others.

Gay people are the least of your concerns when you're serving your country.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

When you were drafted to suffer in Vietnam you would be laughed at trying to get out because you were gay. Gays haved served this county in every war hororably, so the argument against morale and fighting ability seems shrill. As seen at the Palin rallies our country is not as tolerant as most of Europe concerning bias. I don't believe gay unions harm society and for the most part gays are productive taxpaying citizens, so why could they not function in the military?

Posted by: jameschirico | April 18, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I just think it's odd to single out gay people as the category of people you wouldn't want to go camping with or wouldn't want to serve with.

I could make a list with dozens of categories of people I wouldn't want to go camping with. Sexual orientation, for what it is worth, wouldn't even make the list.

But I cringe at the thought of bunking with a proselytizing Evangelical. I am Jewish--they think I am going to hell, and might well be convinced they need to tell me so.

But I would never suggest that they couldn't serve their country in the Military or that they had to pretend they were NOT Evangelicals in order to serve.

Really. Picking out gay people as THE category of "undesirables" is just plain weird.

Egads, the Military lets FELONS serve. Openly. Would you really want to go camping with someone who was convicted of a felony?

Here's the thing: Quite the opposite of what some people here are saying, I think the reality of individuals who belong to any given group is substantively different from seeing that category on a list. "Gays and Lesbians". Oh no!

But put "John Smith" (who is a terrific, well-liked soldier, who performs admirably, and who happens to be gay) and see how many people think HE should be kicked out of the Military.

I know quite a few people who has served in the Military and who have told me, "I had no problem with this guy who was gay. He was a great soldier."

That's the point. You don't put that great soldier on some list when that list is completely non-predictive of just how great a soldier someone will end up being.

Why on earth would you?

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for not checking my grammar/spelling before posting!

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Ricklinguist..points well taken,, well articulated and I understand your position. I just don't agree with it. And that's what makes the world go 'round!

To be clear, let me make some assumptions and then I'm interested in your position to the following:

Assumptions:
1. Homosexual men are sexually attracted to other men and not women.
2. Heterosexual men are sexually attracted to women and not other men.

Logically:
1. If you are advocating cohabitation of a heterosexual and a homosexual in the military situation (because that's reality in combat areas), then I presume you are also advocating cohabitation of a heterosexual men and the women (not a co-ed situation...I'm talking sharing bedrooms/showers/bathrooms/no privacy.)

What say you?

Posted by: powerange | April 18, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I deleted the second "postion" in the first sentence and it "previewed" fine, but then it appeared again in the post.

Posted by: powerange | April 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

And I can't spell position either!

Posted by: powerange | April 18, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

In reply to powerange's logic, people aren't advocating cohabitation of a heterosexual and a homosexual in the military situation because it already exist. There are already heterosexual men who shower, eat, and sleep near homosexual men in the military. The soldiers already know that they may be doing this, but that's the thing, they know they might. They focus on their job and mission because that is what is required of them. The only difference repealing this policy would make is the person that is heterosexual would not be laying near another guy wondering "Is this person gay, is this person interested in me?" not that they do, I know that stuff like that is usually the last thing on a soldiers mind while in combat having been there myself, but for the sake of logic, do you think the person sleeping near a guy would sleep better knowing that the person near him is gay, but not interested, or sleeping at night wondering if the guy near him is interested because he doesn't know.
Common sense. If you are heterosexual and comfortable with it, then should it really bother you what other people choose to do? Yeah, you might get hit on. Its not like that situation doesn't already exist in the military between all orientations. All you have to do is tell the person you are not interested.
And another assumption many make is that everyone will come out of the closet once the policy is passed. I don't see everyone jumping out and going "here is something you didn't know about me!" I know I wouldn't. The thing I would be glad though, is if someone found out without me telling them, that I would not be targeted and in fear of loosing the ability to fight and protect my country.

Posted by: shdwfrog | April 18, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

powerange,

First, thanks for keeping the discussion civil. That's pretty rare on these boards.

You asked, "if you are advocating cohabitation of a heterosexual and a homosexual in the military situation (because that's reality in combat areas), then I presume you are also advocating cohabitation of a heterosexual men and the women (not a co-ed situation...I'm talking sharing bedrooms/showers/bathrooms/no privacy.)..What say you?"

I say that this is a matter of socialization, not of logic.

In our society, we separate facilities (bathrooms, showers, private areas) based on gender, not based on sexual orientation.

We have Men's Room and Women's Room. Those are the choices.

There are gay people throughout society. Gay people grow up and are socialized exactly the same as everyone else: gay males, in high school, take gym and swimming classes along with all the other males. They shower in the male showers, along with all the other male students. They use the male bathrooms, just like all the other boys in high school.

I don't believe there is a high school in America where openly gay kids are told they need to leave the shower area when others are showering. We can be certain that closeted gay kids are there as well--just as in the Military.

I don't believe that gay university students need to check off a box on a form at orientation so that they aren't put in a dorm room with someone who is straight.

If your theory of cohabitation were true, then universities would feel obliged to house male and female students in the same dorm rooms as well, but they don't. Why not?

This is a matter of socialization, of how we as a society divide up public and private spaces.

Doesn't have to be that way: in conservative, traditional old Japan, entire families, male and female, bathed together. And even in modern, industrialized Japan, women cleaning ladies are always mopping up around your feet in the men's restroom at Narita Airport, while you're at the urinal. No one thinks anything of it, except us Westerners who are not used to it. (I know, because I've been there and done that! ;-))

The bottom line for me is we never know what other people are thinking about us (or perhaps worse, NOT thinking about us! ;-))

The heterosexual soldier could be showering next to another heterosexual soldier who likes to (I am trying to be subtle here) "compare things". We cannot control the machinations of other people's minds.

I say again that I don't see that the most relevant trait is whether someone is gay or straight. Notions of privacy are tricky, particularly in social settings like dorm rooms or barracks. But you simply cannot predict problems based on sexual orientation.

There are tons of reasons that someone might not feel comfortable around someone else. Why pick on sexual orientation as the one reason that determines who gets to serve and who doesn't?

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I was in the Marines for 6 years. Back then, if you admitted you were gay, you would get a discharge. A lot of guys used that as an out.
Here's my concern. We live in an imperfect world. Every gay person knows there is a lot of discrimination and hatred focused at them. In the military, this subtle predjudice is intensified. Put 60-80 guys together in close proximity, and there's going to be tension. Then add a openly gay soldier to the mix and, well, figure it out. It's like putting the fuse in a stick of dynamite.

Posted by: tiotom77 | April 18, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

ricklinguist,
Are you in the military? I mean, it is all well and good to say that nobody is suggesting a double standard, but I ask again, are you in the military? I mean, women get special treatment all the time. So do other minorities. You see, we have not become the social experiment and the race or sex card gets to be played. Now we will have the gay card played too. So, what I suggest and am not naive enough to believe that this would come to pass, is that gays, women, minorities, are not marked as such, have no discussion of their protected status w/in the personnel world. There WILL be some actions taken on behalf of the gays once they serve openly. Next thing you know, we are promoting gays based on their sexual orientation, not on their ability. Not all, of course, but some. I mean, they MUST be represented in the upper leadership, yes? You think not? We do it for minorities and women. I know minorities that are pissed off about it. It has become a huge thing in the military and especially in the Navy. We have under performers that we can not fire or release or hold to a standard for fear of upsetting someone. That is pathetic!

Posted by: bman2 | April 18, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

tiotom77 wrote, "...Then add a openly gay soldier to the mix and, well, figure it out. It's like putting the fuse in a stick of dynamite."

How about putting a soldier who was a neo-Nazi into the mix? Because, you know, there not only is no policy about neo-Nazis serving, but neo-Nazi magazines urge members to join the Military to fight the coming "race wars."

The policy still lets neo-Nazis serve, however. And there is no push to stop it.

The only group that the Right seems to care about keeping out (of marriage, of the Boy Scouts, of teaching professions and (surprise!) the Military)---are completely innocent gay people. And yet gay people have already proven that they can serve, and serve with distinction.

Sorry to keep repeating myself, but I do not believe that you can predict who will and who will not act as a "fuse in a stick of dynamite".

And I do not understand the notion that gay soldiers are the one group that troops could not possibly tolerate--even though they are tolerating them just fine now as individual soldiers.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

bman2--

With respect, are you suggesting that a gay soldier who is willing to die for his country should not be allowed to because you fear social policy will be rewritten to favor him?

That's his fault? He should be forbidden from serving because you think others --higher ups, in many instances-- might write policy that's bad or will disfavor non-gay soldiers or...whatever you might predict?

Women should be forbidden to serve because for some reason or reasons --even if they are asinine reasons--they are given 'preferential treatment'? Is your solution that they shouldn't be allowed to serve?

Let's turn the tables for a second: You belong to some group. I don't care which group it is-- white, black, Baptist, male, New Yorker. Whatever you happen to be.

Should YOU not be allowed to serve on the basis of someone's claim that your "group" is treated better than it should be?

I honestly don't get what solution you are proposing. You are saying gay soldiers shouldn't be allowed to serve because SOMEONE may play the "gay card?

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

How do you change a bigot:

1. Educate him or her to unlearn, renounce, stop practicing a bigoted value.

2. Punish him or her for not unlearning, not renoucing, and not practicing a bigoted value.

This raises the question, what is a bigoted value? The answer, any specific value that doesn't meet the test of the Golden Rule, whether you apply this principle/value in the secular or spiritual sense: Do unto others as one would have done unto them.

For example:

Would any heterosexual (as individuals or a group) want to be subjected to any of the specific forms of discrimination LGBT citizens are subjected to by individuals, groups, institutions, and some of our nation's laws? The answer, NO!

Therefore, bigotry is a self-serving psychology, value system, behavior, and laws practiced by individuals, groups, and institutions that seeks to justify a self-serving double-standard. This double-standards becomes an exclusionary privilege that bestows status, benefits, access, and resources on some while subjecting others to exclusion, pain, suffering, and often death.

So I say to all those citizens (and soliders) who wish to defend and practice their bigotry, just reverse roles (life circumstances) with those whom you target, devalue, negate, and discriminate against. I say apply all of your specific rationales and justifications to yourself. I say YOU become the target, oppressed, discriminated-against, victims.

For example:

For heterosexuals, instead of "LGBT" citizens should be excluded from this or that job, education, marriage, military etc., then just insert YOUR identity.

As for all those so-called representatives speaking for some GOD, those who claim their god authorized them to be bigots, to discriminate, I say remember the twin-towers. Those ignorant religious fools believed their god (in opposition to your god) put them on the side right/morality and us on the side of wrong/immorality. This means any ignorant fool can interpret any religious doctrine or faith to justify being bigoted, evil, savage, murderous. Human beings past and present use religion and secular knowledge and technology to justify their ignorance, dogma, evil acts.

Posted by: GroupThink | April 18, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

ricklinguist, keeping this discussion civil is the name of the game and I appreciate your attention to this too.
One final point that I feel I've got to reiterate...the military shouldn't be treated like corporate America. In corporate America, you cannot discriminate against someone because they are overweight..in the Military, they are discharged if they can't maintain their weight....in corporate America, you cannot discriminate based on handicaps...in the military, if someone is blind or missing a limb (not combat related), they are forbidden from joining.
My point is that the military already discriminates against individuals and justifies due to "military necessity." If we want to call excluding openly serving gays as discrimination, then it's just ANOTHER example they justify as "military necessity" or "maintaining good order and discipline", concepts foreign to corporate America.

Having said all that, I predict we'll see gays serving openly in the military...when, I don't know as Secretary Gates just cautioned the President not to move too fast. But, the issue will be addressed during the current Administration and we'll see how our elected leaders "lead" the military. Over and out.

Posted by: powerange | April 18, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again, powerange. A thoughtful reply.

I'll end with just a couple of thoughts.

I agree that discrimination in the name of military necessity and military readiness is necessary. I would never suggest otherwise.

My point all along has been that I don't see that allowing gay soldiers to serve in any way compromises that. They are serving now, and apparently, doing a splendid job. Letting them serve without having to worry about someone finding out that they've got a partner back home waiting for them can only help their effectiveness, and I think that's a win-win situation for them and the Military.

I agree that the change is coming, probably sooner than the Media are predicting.

All that said, I respect your opinion.

And I am very grateful to ALL those who serve in the Military of this wonderful country. They ALL deserve our gratitude and our support.

Posted by: ricklinguist | April 18, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Bigotry is not a bona fide knowledge, skill, and ability (KSA). I served in the military, overseas in a fighter squadron. 100 out of 300 persons stationed there were covert gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual. How do I know? Because they trusted me (a non-homophobic heterosexual) to know such.

The Indispensable-KSA argument rests upon one flaw assumption, logic, and morality: That there are not enough gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and non-homophobic citizens (18-25) to serve per the mandates of the Selective Service Act of 1917 as amended. This self-serving rationale also assumes our government cannot create both negative and positive incentives (punishments and rewards) to motivate enough citizens to enlist, re-enlist, and become career military.

The Indispensable-KSA argument presumes absolute that 302 million American citizens (or 240 million adult citizens age 18 and over) will always (absolutely) define heterosexuality in opposition to homosexuality or bi-sexuality. They ignore the political and social reality that such assumptions are not absolute, as reflected in the incremental progress the LGBT communities (and their allies) are making in helping our nation to live up to its ideals of freedom, equality, and democrasy for all citizens -- not just heterosexuals.

Presently our military (and Selective Service laws) institutionalize ageism and sexism policies -- exempt/exclude women and men over age 26. However, these bigoted policies, just like DADT, will also change over time, be it decades or centuries. Why will these practices and policies change? For two major reasons:

1. Our nation's specific values are always changing -- to reflect our more informed knowledge, values, and geopolitical interactions.

2. Our nation's specific labor needs are always changing -- to reflect our more informed knowledge, values, and geopolitical interactions.

As for the self-serving issue of civility, I say one can think and act civilized when they are not the ones being subjected to pain, suffering, discrimination, oppression, and death. But would they think, act, and talk in such a civilized way if they were the targets of such terror -- I doubt it. They would want immediate solutions, immediate punishment of the offenders, immediate change. It is always easier, safer, esoteric for the victimizers, oppressors, to seek to dictate the terms of engagement, the terms of discourse, what the solutions should or should not be, when they aren't the victims.

For example, if heterosexual males were the victims of sexual assault, rape, and sexist discrimination comparable to the forms and frequencies all women are subjected to in America and worldwide, including in our militaries, then MEN would mobilize to end (not merely reduce) these attrocities/practices overnight -- not incrementally over decades or centuries, for men would now be the primary targets/victims instead of the reverse victimizers/oppressors.

Posted by: GroupThink | April 18, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

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