I originally wrote this post in february, but for some reason, didn't post it. Oh well, I'm just going to post it now.
Ok, so there is a lot of haroohaha going on about Don't Ask Don't Tell right now. It was stated as one of President Obama's goals to rescind this year, so that gays can serve openly and honorably in the military.
My feelings on this are mixed, and I will tell you why.
Gays can serve in the military now, Don't Ask Don't Tell allows them to serve, they just can't be open about it. It forces them to just remain quiet about a certain aspect of their person.
Now there can be something said for and against this, for one, people shouldn't have to lie about who they are, though in my opinion it isn't a lie, it is just withholding of certain aspects of a person's identity.
So we get into my opinion on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Actually, I did a report on Don't Ask Don't Tell when I was in college. I took it more from a preventive medicine perspective then, but in truth, soldiers by their very nature are a horny group of individuals so I don't think it really stands up. So what's my basic opinion of Gays in the Military?
You know, it really depends on the person. I have known people in my experience in the military who are fantastic soldiers, and though they didn't come out and declare it, I'm pretty certain they swung that way. It was only a little obvious, with some people it is. I know more then one soldier who if they had come up to me and told me, "Sergeant, I'm gay," I'd have looked right back at them and said "that's nice, get back to work." Unfortunately in the Basic Training Environment, coming out is a quick way out of the military for those privates who made a realization that perhaps this whole military thing is a mistake, and I can't make that same judgment call based on the soldier. If they come out, we have to tell the commander and it falls on him on what to do with these 'out' soldiers. Frankly, I don't want any soldier in the army that doesn't want to be there and is only going to waste my time getting out.
There has been a lot of mention of how many gay people the military kicks out each year, the number is apparently 13,500 since 1994 or so, but I would like to know how many of those were discharged during their initial entry training period, basically the ones who got in and promptly found a way to get out. I'm guessing about 80% fall under that category, but until I see the numbers, guess we'll never know.
Because with only a few exceptions, most people I have worked with don't really care about a soldier's orientation as long as they can soldier up and keep their personal affairs largely to themselves. In affect, as a matter of courtesy, most people just don't really want to know about your intimate affairs in the bedroom. Basically, if you can do your job and work with the team, that's all people really care about. If you need to make your sexual identity the focus of your interactions with other people, you need to find another job. The military is to intimate of a workforce to throw that in the mix.
My main issue of rescinding the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is the influx of people enlisting who make their sexual orientation the main focus of their identity. Basically the flamboyant gays. Lesbians by and large do just fine in the military setting, I wouldn't be surprised if thirty percent of females currently serving are gay. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if fifty percent were, military service draws this personality type and they do well. Most people in the military are more then willing to work with lesbians.
But the flamboyent ones that want to join the military because they are attracted to a man in uniform, I'm not looking forward to this type joining the military (and yes, though there may not be a huge number, they will join for this very reason, and I'm sure there are gays in the military who fit this discription now, they are probably the ones most likely to get discharged under DADT) and watch the harrassment charges begin when they get their asses kicked. Seriously.
Most soldiers probably agree with this assessment, and there are plenty of soldiers serving now who are out amidst their command, who have retained them because they are good soldiers and they need bodies, and the gay soldiers aren't making it a huge issue. People know they're gay, and they keep it professional at work.
So basically, it boils down to this. There are gays currently serving in the military, they are serving admirably, and as long as they serve admirably, I don't really care if they are there and they are gay. As long as when they are in uniform they are a soldier first. You soldier up and do your job and work with the team, we can use you. You're gay? Fine, leave that in the bedroom and get to work. Don't bring it to work with you.