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Don't Ask/Don't Tell and Homosexuals in the Military

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by vyo476, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    What are your thoughts on the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy the US government uses in regards to homosexuals in the armed forces? Personally, I feel as though anyone willing to fight and die for their country ought to be allowed the chance to regardless of sexual status, but then again I am not and never have been (and more than likely never will be) a member of the armed forces.

    USMC, your opinion in particular is what I'd like to hear, but this thread is open to everyone (of course).
     
  2. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    Personally, I like the Don't Ask/Don't tell policy. There are countless situations where closeted gays have served their country honorably in combat, and I don't think we should go on "witch hunts" looking for gays. If they're willing to remain in the closet in order to serve in a time of war, I think that it would be a mistake to turn them away.

    I do however, believe that troop morale, above all other things, is the single greatest factor in war. This morale is a proudct of unity, cohesion, and trust -- something that may be affected by having open gays. I mean, how comfortable would you feel sleeping in a three person barrack with two open gays? Potential scenarios like this would harm both recruitment and retention rates in the military.
     
  3. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    Truthfully, and I don't feel right saying this, I believe that anyone who hasn't served on active duty really doesn't understand the concept of gays in the military. It's easy for you to say, and I'm not blaming you, "oh anyone should be allowed to serve in or out of the closet" but you really don't get it unless you've been there.

    It's not the same as when Eisenhower integrated blacks. White Marines/soldiers, etc might not have liked blacks, but at least they didn't feel there was a potential for them to be violated sexually.
     
  4. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    I agree with USMC. When I was in, there were numerous situations where I know I wouldn't feel comfortable if I knew there was a gay individual right next to me. Its not as common now, but when I was at basic, showering was definately not a private experience. Our barracks was a trailer with that slept 40 guys, and had one shower room with about a dozen shower heads. Having someone come out as being gay in that environment would have caused more tension and would have only made things more difficult for everyone involved. Our servicemen and women have to have a good working relationship with the person next to them, and if they are wondering if the person was checking them out in the shower the night before, that simply makes the situation harder. Don't ask don't tell gives gays the right to serve without putting others in an uncomfortable situation.
     
  5. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    Fair enough, I suppose. One thing I'm interested in hearing: what do you think of requisite discharge of homosexuals who come out while in the military?

    A friend of mine was put into that position where denying his orientation just got to be too hard and eventually he told some of his friends to stop trying to set him up with girls because he wasn't interested. Not too long afterwards he got discharged. That's really the thing that bugs me the most about it: don't ask/don't tell puts a lot of pressure on homosexuals in the armed forces because they're developing close personal friendships with their comrades but at the same time are required to keep this secret from them. Add that to the stress of being in a combat situation and the result isn't too pretty.

    I guess that there really isn't any good solution to the problem - keep the policy as it is in place and the homosexuals languish in discomfort and remove it and everyone else does. My best idea was that don't ask/don't tell should be instituted through basic training and then dropped once a serviceman or servicewoman achieves active status. That way the straight members of the unit get to know their homosexual comrade before finding out that he or she is gay, which would at least partially relieve the stress of finding out later - and finding out in a half decent way, rather than waiting until the homosexual cracks under the pressure and just blurts it out at an inopportune time.

    What do you think?
     
  6. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    I'm not sure if that would be the solution either. Basic training isn't the way it was in the Vietnam movies. While a lot of people that graduate together get shipped to the same base, they usually get split up with different units. Out of my graduating class, about 40% went to Fort Lewis, 40% went to Fort Bliss, 2 or 3 went to different camps in South Korea, 4 volunteered for direct deployment to Kuwait, and 1 unlucky woman got Fort Polk Louisiana. So, I don't really think that having the don't ask dont tell policy would really fit if it is only used for the training phase.

    One other thing I would like to mention is that our drill sergeants made it clear that the full policy is "don't ask, don't tell, don't harass," meaning that if you do find out that someone is indeed homosexual, you are not to harass that invidual under any circumstances.
     
  7. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    I didn't know that. How far does this "don't harass" policy extend? I mean, if you were to find out that another soldier is homosexual, would it be proper (according to policy) to report that discovery to a superior (as happened to my friend)? If not then I can get behind don't ask/don't tell because Americans just aren't ready for complete immersion. Maybe someday we will but for now this appears to be the best thing we can come up with.
     
  8. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    It all depends on the circumstances in which you found out. The military regulation prohibits "homosexual behavior," which would include coming out to a friend. This does not include the old stereotype behavior of what we think of as "gay." If you know that someone has engaged in homosexual behavior, it would be proper to report it to a superior and let them handle it, but you are not allowed to start spreading rumors about the situation. Like most things in life, its up to your own best judgment. If you are ok with it, and nobody else knows about it, its not like anyone would punish you for not telling on the guy.
     
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