Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I guess you can ask now

As almost everyone who pays attention to the world around them knows, "Don't ask, don't tell" has come to an end. It is now ok for homosexuals to serve openly in the military. The confusion is that people believed that they couldn't serve previously. Untrue. They could. Just not admittedly. So to be gay in the military meant to be celibate. Here's the downer for folks in the military that are gay. Even though they can be open and in a relationship and live their lives as they see fit, they still can't get married. The defense of marriage act specifies that marriage is between opposite genders and that the states can't force other states to recognize same-sex marriage and the federal government can't recognize it as well. So steps have been taken but it's clearly not done. I think it's progressive, it was a matter of time, and it's just evolution away from ignorance.

I do have an issue with the execution of a couple of things however. Let's look at the bathroom situation. Currently, men and women are kept separate to avoid unprofessional situations. Now, I love women. I also love my paycheck. I also love not being in trouble. So, in field conditions if I had to be in the shower with a woman, I may sneak a peek, but I'm going to remain professional. They still won't put men and women in the shower together because of the potential for a problem. Some people may not be professional and cross the line. I'm also not attracted to EVERY woman out there, but women as a whole interest me, so that association is right out.

Gay men and straight men will have to share showers. Doesn't this put us in the same category as straight men and women? I know that not every gay man is interested in every straight man. Maybe no gay man is interested in me, but the potential is there just like me with a woman, right? Odds are that sooner or later a person in the shower (or bunk) with a member of the sex they are attracted to will see something specifically that interests them. That's uncomfortable. You wanna look, then look. I don't spook easily. But I've known of enough calls to the SARC (Sexual Response Assault Coordinator) over hetero situations gone awry, that I take issue with tempting fate.

I get it, gay men and women have always been in the military. Nothing is new there. However, they were all closeted during "Don't ask, don't tell" to avoid a break in their service as a whole. This has given a much needed freedom, but the military has not taken the time to mitigate the risks. Think about a gay man and a straight woman in a shower - very little opportunity to inappropriate conduct there.

The other issue I have is on the part of the homosexual military community. This ban has been lifted for a mere 13 hours. A Navy male couple has a marriage ceremony scheduled for today. Announcements have been made to co-workers. Videos posted of military members coming out to their parents on the phone - recorded as it happened.

I don't tell the world - "I LOVE WOMEN!!!" Why? Because it's the most common way and it's assumed. No, because it's none of anyone's fucking business who I prefer to see naked. It is what it is. It's my life. Gay people have been saying for so long that it's their personal choice to love who they love and it's not the business of anyone to interfere. Well then, don't announce it and invite trouble into your lives. It's like celebrities who put themselves in the limelight withe life they choose and get mad the paparazzi and scrutiny. You've been granted your wish. You can be openly gay. Now stop drawing attention to yourselves.

Also, keep in mind that for the ENTIRE HISTORY of the military, this has not been allowed. A few months ago the law was passed and we all had our training. Now a few months later it's ok. This is a huge culture shift. This is something that changes the dynamic across the entire military. And it's not a regular job. It's a lifestyle. We not only work together, but we live together, travel together, fight together and, at ties, die together. You want it go smooth? Help people with the transition by using some discretion and not making a big deal about it. I know it's a relief and you want to celebrate, but wouldn't you prefer acceptance and long term happiness? Should people be more accepting? Not important. What is important is what people ARE. They are young, for the most part. The average new entrant to the military is 18 years old. Not exactly fully mature or worldly. Many military members are also from conservative, small towns in middle America, not the liberal, accepting, melting pots of the big cities. You may be the first gay person they've met. Have you readily accepting EVERY new thing you've ever been faced with?

In the end, it'll work itself out and will become a way of life. However, it will be a hard enough road in the meantime without the wanton disregard for people's need to figure it out that will be disruptive to the mission and the lives of people in the military. It takes time. You got what you needed, now give those around you the opportunity to evolve with it.

No comments: