Let's End DADT NOW!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Let's End DADT NOW!
30
Thu, 11-25-2010 - 9:08am
I've written my Senators, and now I'm asking you, my friends, to write yours too. Please tell them it's time to end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.


I understand many might not agree, but let me bend an ear for a moment. These are men and women already serving our country but who have to keep their lives secret. While their fellow sailors and soldiers, officers and enlisted, can have friendly chats about kids and their families, commiserate about relationship problems, and get support during a break up or for the loss of a partner, the gays and lesbians in our armed services must remain quiet. They cannot share the joy of a new commitment nor even the birth of a child without fear of being outed. They even must be more than discreet about going on a date for fear that someone will see a hand being held or a kiss exchanged. Despite the public statement the military will not accept outings by others, it happens all the time, ruining careers and even making future employment difficult (this is not an honorable discharge.)


The LBGT community doesn't seek special treatment, merely equal treatment in honor of their willingness to serve. Don't we owe them that much?

Sandy

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Thu, 11-25-2010 - 9:26am

I do not agree and am truly distressed that the main thrust seems to be whether lesbians, gays, and trans-sexuals are comfortable.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2010
Thu, 11-25-2010 - 11:42am
I completely agree with you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 11-25-2010 - 5:25pm
Jabber, these service members are ALREADY serving. This is not a matter of letting them in but rather a matter of not kicking them out when they're outed. Is that really fair to anyone? And really, which is s greater national security issue, a gay man who is out to his fellow soldiers or a gay man trying desperately not to get outed?
Sandy
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2010
Fri, 11-26-2010 - 8:24am
(And really, which is s greater national security issue, a gay man who is out to his fellow soldiers or a gay man trying desperately not to get outed?)

I think you are missing the point. Have you ever been in a naval ship and seen the extremely close sleeping quarters? There are many young soldiers (who are barely 18) that are not comfortable with an openly gay man sleeping right next to him for the next 6-8 months while at sea. There would also be a level of discomfort for the soldiers in the showers too. The point is that these soldiers need to keep their minds focused on their task at hand....not wondering if the openly gay man sleeping next to him is checking him out in the shower. It would be no different if there was no separate quarters for men and women. Would you ever expect a woman to sleep right next to a man for 6-8 months at sea and shower with the men and not feel uncomfortable? No difference.

Nobody is saying that they cannot serve. They are asking them to keep their sexual preferences to themselves for the sake of all.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 11-26-2010 - 9:15am

Doc, does anything really change if these members are permitted to come out? Seriously? Because right now, instead of knowing for certain the sexual preference of your bunk mate, you have that question always in your head, is he or isn't he?

The members of the services that I know are a lot more accepting of this idea than the general public, trust me. Their general response is, if the soldier or sailor serves well, who gives a flip what they do in their bedroom.

And the soldiers and sailors DO already have an idea who might be gay or lesbian in their units. The big difference in getting rid of DADT will be that those LBGT members of the service will be able to go to a chaplain for counseling or request leave when a partner is seriously ill or dies. They will be able to share with their units the joyful occasions, like a commitment ceremony or the birth of a child. They will be treated like everyone else.

And let's be honest--soldiers and sailors should be beyond that ICKY worrying feeling by now. If a service member has a problem with ICKY feelings, they really don't have what it takes to serve. I know the women have to put up with sexual harassment just about regularly, and yet still manage to serve honorably.

Sandy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Fri, 11-26-2010 - 7:59pm

The distraction factor matters, as does unit cohesion.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2010
Fri, 11-26-2010 - 8:29pm

It is interesting how recently Republicans claim to be so concerned about our troops when their actions speak otherwise.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 11-27-2010 - 12:06am

Yet it was in wartime that our military chose to ignore the old "no woman on the front lines" rules they had held onto for far too long. Until of course they realized they were too short staffed to be able to hold onto that policy.

The DADT policy as written does state that no outing by another member of the service would be acceptable, yet it is regularly how LGBT members get outed. Yes, some come out publicly, but most are seen as I described, on a date someplace they thought they'd never get caught, being discrete but of course offending some prudish sensibility. We tolerate rapists and spouse abusers more in our services than we do a gay man who played by the rules but was seen OFF BASE on a date.

The individuals we are losing are often the foreign language specialists we desperately need right now. Is that really in our best interest militarily?

Sandy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Sat, 11-27-2010 - 8:28pm

You may have already read this piece in the NYT but I include an excerpt and the link for those who have not yet done so.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 11-27-2010 - 9:47pm
Is outing a life or death issue? Perhaps not, on the other hand it does ruin careers for no good reason. In the cases where the troop receives a general discharge, it disqualifies them for programs like the GI Bill. It also costs our country milions in recruiting and training.

Maj. Magaret Witt was outed by the disgruntled husband of her lover. A straight service member suffers little repercussion for such an indiscretion, but she was kicked out of the service for it. Bleu Copas, an Arabic translator, was ANONYMOUSLY outed by email and honorably (fortunately) discharged. Jene Newsome was outed by the Rapid City, SD police department who contacted the Air Force when they found her marriage certificate in her home. Over 13,000 troops have been discharged as a result of DADT, and too many of them have stories like the ones above.

In fact, the only other behavioral issue that results in mandatory discharge is drug abuse. We lump gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops in the same group as those who break the law.

BTW--I grew up in a military family AND have worked closely with members of the military in my career. I am well aware of what is asked of them. And I know many current members serving who have no problems whatsoever with serving with gay and lesbian soldiers and sailors.
Sandy

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