Monday, March 29, 2010

A Quick History Lesson

Dear Military Folk,

Read about your idea of requiring "separate bunks for gays" if gay servicepeople are allowed to serve openly.

Wanted to remind you we tried that separate-but-equal thing. It was never equal. It was unfair and stigmatizing.

People grew tired of it and effectively resisted.

The military finally gave it up.

I mean, it was even repudiated legally.

Yet, here you are, contemplating a march backwards. This is wrong for so many reasons, and not solely the ones I mentioned above.

As Vanessa pointed out in another forum, the very premise of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, acknowledges that there are already gays in the military. Why do you expect a problem to develop if they are allowed to serve openly? This idea, that gay servicepeople should be segregated, suborns homophobia, particularly, as a colleague of mine wrote, the idea that gays are indiscriminate in their desires and straight people are in danger/in need of rescue. You are insulting your own personnel with suggestions like this which imply they, as a whole, threaten other service people with sexual aggression and potentially, sexual violence.

If only you were as concerned with the actual and significant problem of sexual violence that occurs within your institution.

Though, I suppose you could flip the argument and try to say it was for the protection of gay personnel, especially given the current political climate towards any so-called "progressive" change. In that case, I'd still accuse you of upholding homophobia and some sort of macho-ethic (okay, I'd accuse you of that, anyway).

Why? Because if your solution to addressing the potential danger openly gay servicepeople would face, is to segregate them, rather than address the military culture which allows for that danger, you've totally missed the point.

Sincerely,

elle
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*And I'm not relying on the opinion of one general as sole evidence that the government would consider this. The article says, "The question of whether changes to housing policies would be necessary is being addressed in a study to determine how to allow gays to serve openly."
Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...