Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I am so done with this

There are still lots of retired military officers urging President Obama and Congress not to overturn the military's offensive, ridiculous, and discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy. More than 1,000 retired officers signed a statement declaring that passage of a bill allowing gays to serve openly in the military would "undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."

In the statement, they also strongly supported the principle that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service" and warned that repeal of current law could jeopardize morale and "unit cohesion."

I call bullsh*t.

I'm done compromising. I'm done being nice about this issue. I'm done trying to persuade anyone who honestly believes this mean-spirited crap. There is no reasoning with these people. It is intolerable that we still allow an agency of the federal government to refuse employment to people based on their sexual orientation. If we wait for the people who sign off on statements like this one to come around, well, this nation's gays and lesbians who want to serve their country will have to wait far too long. Seems to me like many of these retired officers just aren't comfortable being around gays and lesbians, which is a lousy reason for tolerating discrimination.

The only solution is just to force the military to stop discriminating. I promise the military will survive.


BellsforStacy said...

Just one thing ... women in the military. Specifically, women in combat zones and on deployments, which, I think, is really what bothers the military about gays in the military to begin with.

If there was a way that the military could stop allowing women to go on deployments (and ships), they would do it. Why? Because they cause trouble. They cost money, they cost time, they cost morale. Not all women, but some. And some bad apples ruin the whole bunch.

These issues get magnified when dealing with a new, more open sexual component. And the military leaders don't relish the idea of having more paperwork about things like, "gay man wants to use the womens bathroom." You laugh, but that's happened. And it causes problems. It's not the only example I could give you either.

Don't ask don't tell wasn't intended to be separate but equal, maybe that's what its turned into. But if the military could find a way to just force all of its members to abstain, (and wear appropriate clothing for their gender - another story) it would do that.

S said...

Ok, lines like "women cause trouble" really drive me nuts. Of course there are troublesome women. As there are troublesome men. And troublesome gays and lesbians. But no, the bad apples don't ruin the whole bunch. That's just nonsense to say that because one or two women "cause trouble", the military is right to exclude all women rather than do what they would do with the few troublesome men: discipline them.

If women in combat roles cost morale, well maybe the problem is with the chauvinist men who let their morale go down because they can't handle women as equals. And let's not forget that the morale argument was one of the lead arguments for those who wanted to keep the military segregated on racial lines. That wasn't right, so why is it a viable argument for keeping women separate or gays out?

I'm really bothered by this false notion that allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military without fear of being fired would introduce a "new, more open sexual component" into the military. Allowing gays to serve openly doesn't mean that there would be orgies and sex talk all the time. All we're talking about is letting them serve freely, without having to hide anything about themselves.

I don't think the military needs to force its members to abstain; it just needs to force its members to act professionally and behave in an acceptable manner. All these arguments and morale issues and cultural claims are just excuses. And I'm done with it. It's offensive. It's wrong. And it needs to stop now.

42pennies said...

I'm with you, S. I never understand this stuff. Over and over again, we hear stories (and occasionally trials) of men who sexually harass or even rape women in the military, and we're not saying that men should not be allowed in the military because they cause trouble (and if that isn't causing trouble, I don't know what is).

How do women cause trouble? Because they "entice" or"distract" men? Ahem. That's the MEN causing the trouble, not the women.

In situations like this, I always think of the wise words of Golda Meir. Many years ago, there was a serious problem with women being raped in Israel (I think that was it) and her military advisors suggested that women stay indoors after dark. Her response? Why should women stay in after dark? The MEN should stay in after dark. The women haven't done anything wrong.

Also, as a lesbian, I am troubled by the overuse of an extraordinarily rare issue (i.e. gay menwanting to cross-dress or use women's restrooms...this reflects a real ignorance of the gay/lesbian community, where such things very rarely occur, and makes me think the people who say that don't know many gay men) to justify discrimination.

Interestingly, I *do* agree with BellsforStacy when she points out that women is really what bothers th military about gays to begin with. You're right. Most of homophobia is about misogyny at heart. We hate lesbians because they don't "need" men and we hate gay men because they act like women. We want women to act like "women", and men to act like "men", and anything else is unacceptable.

Yes, the problem with gay and lesbian people in the military is....(drum roll)...sexism. Those poor straight men. They're tempted by women (so the women should go). They're tempted (yes, even if they won't admit it) by gay men (so gay men should go). Why don't we just tell them to grow up?

And of course, we miss the most important point. The military is a hierarchy to beat all heirarchies. If the soldiers are told that they will accept these changes, then they will, or they will be disobeying orders. It's so simple.

S said...

Amen, Robin. I agree with all of what you wrote.

Your last point is the thing I want to scream at all of those military officers who claim that having gays and lesbians or women or whatever group serving would be problematic. If you tell your soldiers this is how it's going to be, aren't they just going to roll with it? Otherwise, they'll suffer the consequences, just like they would if they didn't follow any other order.

The idea that military policy should be dictated from the bottom up is so contrary to the whole power structure of the military.

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