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.

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!

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.