Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Freedom of Speech for All (Except the Gays!)

What is Don't Ask, Don't Tell?The full name is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Harrass, Don't Pursue." It is commonly referred to as "DADT" and is a policy barring openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from serving in the military. You can be a closeted homosexual, but you can't "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts." Yes, we are still talking about the United States. I promise!

Don't Ask: The military will not ask you if you're straight or gay. This is the only part of the law that makes sense. Someone's sexuality is no one's business but their own and their partner's.
Don't Tell: You most certainly will not tell them. You will not chat with your bunkmates about your partner, although they are more than welcome to chat about their husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends/lovers. You will not even mention intent to engage in homosexual acts.
Don't Harass
: This part of the law was enacted after Barry Winchell was killed because his fellow service members thought he was gay, and after Winchell sufficiently beat the brakes out of one of them for harassing him, Calvin Glover attacked and killed Winchell in his sleep with a baseball bat. Some people may say, "Seee! This is what happens when people in the military are gay!" Nooooo, this is what happens when the ridiculous DADT law creates a Salem Witch Trials type atmosphere for people seeking to find out who's gay and who's not. For the record, Barry Winchell never said he was gay, it was just a rumor, and he was infuriated by the accusations. But who wouldn't be? If the accusation had been made to the appropriate person, Winchell would have been discharged. #epicdontaskdonttellfail
Don't Pursue: This part establishes what is minimally required for an investigation to be initiated. The Army and other branches even provide a training guide on how to report homosexuals and what qualifies as credible information. In other words, they say, "Hey just because someone has a light pink polo
doesn't mean they're gay, but... if a lady says, "Me and my girlfriend are in a flag football league," then report her!

In short...
You are more than welcome to be gay and serve. Just keep it a secret. You are more than welcome to defend my heterosexual right to the freedom of speech, but you may not practice it yourself, when discussing your love life. (This sounds familiar huh? Like when Blacks were fighting for freedom for others in previous World Wars, but had no freedom here in the States, and were liable to be lynched if they looked at a white woman for too long.)


Honestly, I think there are many places that it's risky for gays to be open about their sexuality. These places include: churches, locker rooms, the military, the Midwest.... but if they are courageous enough to tell someone, that right should not be taken away.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS/FLAWED THINKING USED TO SUPPORT DADT

Can service members be effective knowing there are openly gay people serving side by side?
Countless, and I mean countless studies by the American Psychological Association show that openly gay and lesbian members in the service has absolutely NO EFFECT on military effectiveness. Yes, I know you may be surprised, but someone's ability to load a gun has nothing to do with their sexuality, and even if you're standing NEXT to a gay person loading a gun, unless you're looking at their butt, because you're gay too, it has no effect on your ability to load said gun.

I don't want to know he or she is gay, I'd rather just wonder and not know....
I think the DADT policy actually makes it HARDER for some people to work with gays. If people can't announce their gayness, you gotta wonder how it feels to know that someone might be gay, and he or she is not telling you. Wouldn't it be easier if they could just tell you or discuss it openly? If someone is uncomfortable around people that are openly gay, I gotta believe they're uncomfortable working around people whose sexuality they are unsure of. Then again, these people are probably part of the assuming crowd, who assume everyone is a heterosexual. Sorry, sweety.... Alexander the Great, Johnny Mathis, and probably Tyler Perry are gay.

DADT doesn't necessarily further the idea that being gay is wrong.
Well, if you have a policy that says, "You can't tell someone about a certain aspect of yourself", you're certainly saying (without saying it), that being gay is wrong. And as a government, not a church, should we really be saying that? I have my own opinion on sexuality, and whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but my personal opinion should have no bearing on what you do. Ugh, and neither should John McCain's.
Well what about what service members think? Over 73% of service members interviewed said they feel comfortable in the presence of gay and lesbian personnel... That seems pretty comparable to rates for the general public about working with gays and lesbians. Also, having the DADT policy in place certainly doesn't aid in garnering positive opinions about gays, as I mentioned before.
But it's for their safety!
Some people say, "This law is enacted for homosexuals' safety! Do you know what would happen if gays started walking around announcing their homosexuality?" (Cause that's exactly what they would do right? Wear a sign that said, "I'M GAAAAY!" *rolls eyes*) That's completely irrelevant! Who are YOU to decide what these people say and whether or not they can take a stance?!?! That would be just like if it was illegal for women to dress provocatively late at night and to walk in alleys because it would make them liable to get harassed, molested, or raped. Well, sure that behavior is risky, but that doesn't mean it should be ILLEGAL for women to dress in sexy clothes at certain hours? Of course not. As Bobby Brown said, it's your prerogative. (Note: This is the ONLY time, I will quote Bobby Brown, King of R&B- Ribs and Barbecue, I mean).

In summation...

Get With the Program Already!
I know the U.S. likes to believe it's the forerunner and leader in everything, but not so. The UK did away with slavery way before us, and Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, and the Philippines allow openly gay folks in the military. Really, U.S.??!?! No shade to the Philippines, but... they beat us?!!?!? We gotta do better, Americans!

SOmeone actually told me "Shouldn't the gays be happy? The government is letting them serve their country... geez." I kept waiting for him to go on and say, "What more do the gays want? Next thing you know, they'll want other rights, like the freedom to eat in restaurants with straights, use Wifi, and get married....."

I have heard no argument for Don't Ask Don't Tell that doesn't refute the Freedom of Speech and/or sound like ridiculous homophobic babble based around a personal closeminded nervousness around people that are different. Do you have a good argument?

What are your thoughts on Senator McCain's filibuster to block the repeal of DADT? I'd love to hear them!

*Update*
80% of the veterans I polled do not support Don't Ask Don't Tell. To be completely transparent, I only polled 5 people:
1. My mother, an Army veteran
2. My father, an Army veteran <just switched from repeal to support>
3. My mother's husband, a Marines veteran
4. A colleague, Air Force Veteran
5. My brother, Air Force
My mother's hilarious commentary: "If gay people wanna tell everyone they're gay, fine, let em get beat up! I don't care, that's their choice. But I wouldn't tell anyone. Matter of fact, if I was Jewish or Muslim or any other minority, I wouldn't tell them that either. If I could get away with not telling the world I was Black, I would, and save myself a whole lot of trouble, but we don't have it so easy..." She continued her diatribe of the world, the military, and etc, and then Glee came on, so I don't remember the rest... but you get her drift.

5 comments:

  1. Worst. Article. Ever.

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  2. I reserve opinion for something I am fairly qualified to comment on, this would be one. It is not when it is repealed, it is how. There is a logistical side to this that is a nightmare and where will this money come from? It can't be accomplished with the wave of a wand, only the truly ignorant and to far removed will disagree with that.
    To attach this to the annual defense budget and deny ALL those currently serving promotions and all other related actions, to serve a political agenda proves our congress is not here for the people. The military asked for one year to “hash” this out, but someone’s re-election is way too important for that. I know not one Soldier that was "polled" prior to the survey that went out this summer and I know a few Soldiers, ha ha.
    Personal opinion, this is a way to a means. Once this is passed it will force the governments hand to recognize marriages in order to provide benefits.
    It's easy to pass judgment on something that does not directly impact you and it is easy to react negatively when it most certainly does.

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  3. Here is my argument FOR don't ask dont tell:

    It would have been impossible to go from pre-DADT to serving openly. This country doesn't work that way. Clinton knew DADT was a necessary bridge between the two eras. Kind of like allowing 5,7,9 (i forget how many there were) black kids into a segregated white school instead of dropping a whole bus load off at one time. DADT allowed gays to serve in our military while the rest of the country slowly became accepting of gays in general. In a perfect world slavery, civil rights, immigration, gay rights, etc. would be solved in one day/one year/one election cycle. But no group has ever gained rights that quickly. So kudos to DADT.....and it's tranquilizing pill of gradualism.

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  4. I am a former sailor in the United States Navy. I am openly gay man. I am neither removed nor ignorant. I believe any argument for the oppression of men and women living in the United States of America has zero validity. The blanket statement of "only the truly ignorant and those to far removed would disagree" (magic wand not withstanding) is the exact type of rebuttal distributed as fodder for the argument that providing equal liberties takes decades, while denying them (in fact making policy to deny them takes only weeks or months). There can be no financial, budgetary, economic validation (regardless of how well it is articulated) for DADT, it is a problem of the peoples doing and therefore a responsibility of the people to abolish.

    Would we argue that civil liberties for blacks, or voting rights for women should have been delayed for the "greater financial incentives or interests" of slave owners or men in the workplace or elected office?. After all, there is no greater evidence that suggests homosexuality ISN'T genetic and many studies that suggest it is. So if its conceivable that gay men and women are such without the benefit of choice; we need error on the side of caution.

    The idea that "promotions or other actions (?)" need take precedent over protecting the civil liberties of those serving to protect, uphold and serve a document (the constitution) and a nation from which their most basic liberties are "pledged" but not realized is an argument one should be ashamed for proposing. Have we forgotten that (in theory) you can be drafted into service, but denied the rights for which you can be forced to uphold?

    The argument that it is a political agenda to "force" the hand of the government on providing or acknowledging same sex unions, there is so much to be said there... But I'd prefer just to say this: I wish that were the case. Marriage between consenting adults in a nation that touts "freedom" or "equality" for all as its directive is not only necessary, it is promised. In fact, the argument against such unions is only bolstered by religious decent. How is it possible in a land where the separation of church and state exists, can the right to marry be argued as reasonable as an act prohibited by religious edict?

    I would argue that the later post is "closer" to the point, that "equalizing" a nation makes sense for a time (although not ideal) since the constitution does not allow for the rights of some (those who would "prefer" to get used to or accept homosexuality) to usurp the rights of others (those who are gay and do not require the validation or acceptance of others, but require rather the protection offered to them by law). DADT, the crafting of a president in an era where adultery was considered more correct then unions between consenting adults no less, may have had its place... But that place has long since changed. Ill take my civil liberties that do not interfere with yours as is promised to me as a citizen of this country, and will stand with my fellow citizens in honoring and protecting them and say thank you as a grateful American.

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  5. lol i love mom...and you can add that your brother. an air force man. doesnt support it either

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