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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 4:46 am 
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"What's wrong with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy? I don't care whether someone is gay or straight, and it isn't even something I need to know."

--from another post.

[Before I start I want to point out that incautious posts run a risk of offending fellow karateka. Some ones you don't know are gay. Some you DO know are gay and you just don't know it. Others will have gay friends or family members. So please consider how important it is to you to make an opinion known, and keep this discussion about policies and not persons or lives. You can always sit on a post a day and reconsider it.]

As the author of the above quote wrote elsewhere, separate but equal wasn't equal. Think about what would happen to straight servicepeople if they faced this standard. They couldn't wear wedding rings. They couldn't say what they did over the weekend. They'd have to lie about who they were saying, make up false excuses why they weren't dating anyone. They'd be obligated to conceal a huge part of their jobs or face expulsion from the career they love.

In other words, this policy costs gay and lesbian service people (GALSP's) their free speech. None of them can participate in gay political (and many social) activities. None could protest if they lost their housing for being gay because then they'd lose their work too. Or if they lost their kid unfairly in a custody dispute. Or press charges if they were attacked for being gay. None could share about hard times with family or church or the loss of a loved one. They can be easily blackmailed or harrassed with impunity because they face expulsion for honesty.

Additionally, the policy is backwards. We are one of the last western nations to have this restriction. Almost all the others have decided discrimination is wrong. If you read Randy Shilts "Conduct Unbecoming" you'll see the military has only had TWO reasons for the policy.

1) GALSP's are a security risk because they can be blackmailed.
2) Other service people wouldn't like working with them

1 totally fails because the DADT policy is what MAKES it possible to blackmail a GALSP. If their identity couldn't cost them their job there'd be no problem. There have been GALSP's discharged from the military when EVERYONE on the base and outside knew, the family knew, etc. No one could possibly have used this info against them.

2 basically says that if other servicepeople are prejudiced they shouldn't have to work with people they dislike. Let's take this idea and revist integration: Black people would upset unit morale and cohesion. They shouldn't serve alongside the whites.

It's prejudiced, its unfair, its wrong, and there came a time when the brass had to say DEAL WITH IT. The military became a model of tolerance for all of america.

The military has NEVER claimed that GALSPs didn't do a good job. In fact they tend to make exemplary soldiers. If the argument is to be made that GALSPs can't control their urges in the barracks one would have to explain why it was ok for navy ships to fill up with women giving birth on duty during the gulf war.

But as it now stands gays have to lie about who they are to serve their nation in the service. Because of a baloney security risk charge and prejudice, they can't openly work jobs they wanted. When they do work those jobs closeted they can't get benefits or housing for partners and children the way straights who work no harder can. This is just not american.

Further the policy is twisted to serve the needs of the armed forces. In times of war expulsions plummet. We need those GALSPs to go die for their country!!! When the conflict is over expulsions shoot right back up. Can't have any queers in the ranks!

What's happened as a result of the policy?

Harassment and expulsions continue anyway. The policy is frequently violated by interrogators. They don't *as often* follow the tactics used in the past: lying, threatening, locking people in closets till they had to soil themselves, spending lots of money on detailed and invasive investigations of what people did on their private time.

Meanwhile GALSPs are second class citizens, their free speech is hampered, they are paid less (no benefits etc to family), and they are vulnerable to harrassment and blackmail.

What's the problem anyway? A number of soldiers have written about how, hiding in some bunker with SCUDS inbound, it made no difference whether your neighbor was a known GALSP. Everyone was holding hands anyway. Life goes on. Dozens of GALSP's have served pretty much as openly as possible in the forces with no problem until some investigator outisde the ship or the base stirred up trouble and got them expelled. And the invisible gay forces remain an integral part of the military. There are as many or more GALSPs percentagewise as in civilian society. If they all left at once they'd cripple the forces. They deserve fair treatment. The quote above asks why anyone cares whether a soldier is gay or straight or why anyone needs to know. I can't think of a reason. The armed forces should stop considering this detail of soldier's lives as any more important than whether they're left or right handed, and allow the lefties to be honest about it.

A story:
Eisenhower found out to his great surprise that there were lesbians serving in his forces. He ordered his secretary to investgate and prepare a list for expulsion. She said she would do it, but he had to be aware, she'd put her name at the top. Another said she wanted to be second. A third said she'd be next. Eisenhower was astounded. He dropped the order.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 11:24 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
"What's wrong with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy? I don't care whether someone is gay or straight, and it isn't even something I need to know."


Nothing wrong except when it is implicitly/explicitly directed at one group. Folks talk about their "personal lives" all the time and, if it is about hetero "relationships", practically nobody cares. Not close to truth for those in gay relationships.

Think about it -- at work or in other social circumstances -- most folks will eventually make some mention of their relationships if only in passing. Closeted gays often stay away from such "normal" talk. Even a casual discussion about "Friday night plans" can be dangerous in certain settings/institutions.

Discrimination *****.

david


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 2:15 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by david:

Discrimination *****.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well now... That sums it up nicely.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 2:48 pm 
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I didn't find anything wrong with the quote:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
"What's wrong with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy? I don't care whether someone is gay or straight, and it isn't even something I need to know."


Actually, I felt this way as well!

However, after reading Ian and David's posts, I realize that the words could be interpreted as meaning something else that doesn't represent my opinion. (And probably not the author's opinion either.)

The martial art's community took this "...it isn't something I need to know" attitude towards our Gay students, friends and associates for as long as I've been teaching. I've witnesses some of our most senior instructors living double lives, unaware that their friends knew about their hidden identity while pretending ignorance.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous about how the macho karate community would treat our gay associates; who were the toughest competitors on the circuit, the best martial artist in the dojo and the friendliest people imaginable, once their 'secret' was discovered.

We simply didn't talk about it! It isn't something we needed to know in order to remain friends and family.

Bottom line. It is not necessary for me to know your sexual orientation unless you wish to tell me. No more than it is necessary for me to know your golf handicap, unless you wish to play golf with me.



------------------
GEM


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 3:12 pm 
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Thank you GEM-sensei.

That's what I was getting at. I didn't mean to imply that a person should have to hide their sexual orientation, religion or anything else... just that those things don't matter to me (generally). If someone wants to talk about themselves like that, fine by me. fercryinoutloud, I don't care whether it's straight or not, there is a point where I don't need or want graphic details. Who someone is dating isn't a big deal to me and neither is who they worship (or don't as the case may be). I'd like to think I judge people on their actions and inner-goodness, not who they want to hold hands with or light a candle for.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 3:23 pm 
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> Think about what would happen to straight service people if they faced this standard.

Think what would happen if straight couples weren't allowed to date, marry, have families, procreate. There went society. Now, think about what would happen if homosexuals faced the same barriers. You're comparing apples and oranges. They are not the same thing.

> In other words, this policy costs gay and lesbian service people (GALSP's) their free speech.

Have you ever been in the military? Do you have any idea what it's like? Are you aware that in the military, you don't have 'free speech'? Are you aware that the military has regulations on just about every sexual matter you could think of? The military is not a social experiment.BTW, What's the point in creating abbreviations and acronyms for every group of people under the sun?

> None of them can participate in gay political (and many social) activities.

Nor can straights participate in specifically straight political activities.

>They can be easily blackmailed or harrassed with impunity because they face expulsion for honesty.

Which is why the military should go back to its' outright ban on homosexual activity. Like I said, homosexual activity. Not homosexuals. It's all in the wording.

> If you read Randy Shilts "Conduct Unbecoming" you'll see the military has only had TWO reasons for the policy.

Who is Randy Shilts? I can tell you that he's full of it.

>In fact they tend to make exemplary soldiers.

That is a biased statement. Why say things like that? Why try to make them out to be more than what they are? They are just like you and me. Being gay isn't likely to make one more likely to be an exemplary soldier. Working hard, commitment and dedication to duty make a person an exemplary soldier.

> But as it now stands gays have to lie about who they are to serve their nation in the service.

No they don't. They just have to keep their mouths shut about who they have sex with. You don't see people who can't wait to tell everyone they have sex with sheep, do you? Are you who you are because of who you have sex with? If you didn't have the opportunity to have sex, would that eliminate your very being?You and I see things very differently. You see gays as being born that way. I see it as a behavior pattern, nothing more. Until science can give us a straight answer (no pun intended), we're going to disagree. Without you calling me a hatemonger, or worse.

[This message has been edited by Jcseer (edited February 28, 2001).]


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 4:57 pm 
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The don't-ask, don't tell policy is unacceptable.

The policy really is self-contradictory; "don't-ask" asserts that the military has no interest in knowing the sexual orientation of its servicepeople. It is an acknowlegment that this particular aspect of a person, immutable or not, has no bearing on that person's potential for performance, and will have no effect on the efficiency and effectiveness of the service as a whole. The forces don't need to know.

But the intentions of the "don't-tell" policy contradict that entirely. This section reassures us that sexual orientation really does matter, no less than it ever mattered before. If you are openly gay, or if someone finds out, you are discharged. The forces have no more need for you.

On the one hand, the policy admits that a person's sexual orientation has no bearing upon their or the forces' performance. On the other, it informs us that gays still aren't welcome. Is this really an improvement over an outright ban?

It seems that the only real change affected by this ban has been to move the interrogations and witch-hunts behind closed doors.

It should be shortened to simply "don't ask", or "who cares?".

[This message has been edited by Lee Herndon (edited February 28, 2001).]


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2001 10:30 pm 
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Thanks all for the positive replies. I am frequently reminded of the quality of the people that make up the Uechi martial arts community.

A few comments:

"Think what would happen if straight couples weren't allowed to date, marry, have families, procreate." Here in the USA we don't determine how many rights people have based on their reproductive success. Just because most children are born to hetero couples does not mean that GALSPs should be discriminated against. Note that infertile heterosexual servicepeople are currently allowed to serve without facing expulsion for not lying about who they are. FYI, the reproductive rate of gays and lesbians is well within the normal range for Americans.

To answer the next set of questions, I have never been in the military, but yes, I have some idea of what it's like. Re: free speech in the military, I would just like to see a fair standard that treats all equally. If a hetero can wear a ring or put a picture of their family on a desk, GALSP's should be able to as well. Yes, the military has regulations on sexual behavior, but that doesn't mean they are justifiable or fair. Statement of what is should not be confused with what should be. The argument that the military is not a social experiment, if used in the 40's, would have blocked integration, and most people agree this would have been an error. Plus, if we are one of the LAST western nations to allow GALSP's from serving openly, it's far from an experiment. Lastly the "experiment" as such is over: GALSPs have served since the revolutionary war and done a good job and interacted well with their fellow soldiers. Result: they do fine. My acronym GALSP is used only to save me some typing; it has no social implications, no more than MA for martial arts.

Straights can in fact have straight political opinions and make them known in the military without sanction. Homophobia, even, is perfectly welcome. On the other hand if GALSP's speak out for their rights in or out of the military they face expulsion.

I don't see any cause to ban homosexual activity because of blackmailing potential; if someone is out, there isn't any. Also note that allowing homosexuals to serve, as you suggest, would reverse the DADT policy.

Randy Shilts wrote an amazingly detailed and well researched book on this subject, which anyone participating in the debate would do well to read. He is in fact not "full of it," he's dead. And before he died, he was quoting the military's own material about the two reasons GALSP's are excluded, not stating an opinion.

"They just have to keep their mouths shut about who they have sex with." --actually a virgin GALSP with a spotless record can be expelled for being a GALSP. Identity, not just activity, is punished.

"You don't see people who can't wait to tell everyone they have sex with sheep, do you?"
Jcseer, you know this is not a nice thing to write. You're obliquely comparing GALSP's to people who molest sheep. The standard of conversation on these forums is higher than this. Further, it's not a matter of running around talking about who someone had sex with. Heterosexuals have the privledge of being able to say that they're married, dating, engaged, widowed. They can put rings on or pictures on their desks or get flowers at work. They can say "I went __ with my wife/husband for the weekend." GALSPs have to work to conceal their relationships and identities and this entails LYING about how they spend their time when asked. **Make no mistake, they must lie or be expelled.** Heterosexuals do not face this problem. The policy therefore discriminates. Discrimination is wrong.

"Are you who you are because of who you have sex with?" No. People are who they are because of who they naturally gravitate toward romantically. If a gay person is paralyzed at age 3 and remains celibate his/her whole life, he/she'd stay gay. Just like if you were paralyzed, or lived alone on the moon, you wouldn't stop being straight. That's your identity, not your behavior.

"Until science can give us a straight answer..." You asked me if I had been in the military, implying my commentary was irrelevant if I had not. Well I've met dozens and dozens of gay people who never chose to be gay. They just realized they were. This is **their experience,** like realizing one naturally prefers to use their left hand to write. Being a leftie is not a matter of choice. Using the left hand IS a choice, but one that should be freely made and not punished. So it should be with GALSPs.

"Without you calling me a hatemonger..."--This charge has not been made, but one way to avoid it in the future is to refrain from comparing hard working GALSPs with long term caring relationships (as meaningful as heterosexual ones) to animal molesters. That's certainly not respectful of the GALSPs or many of your peers where you work or here on the forums. I am willing to have any kind of discussion with you on these issues, and respectfully disagree with your opinions, and offer reason/evidence to their contrary, but these statements have no place here.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:03 am 
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Well, Ian pretty much covered the bases that I wanted to.

I think we pretty much agree that no one (at least here) wants to hear about someone's "sexual activities." Frankly, I find "studs" bragging about their sexual conquests/adventures revolting too. Yet I am sure this more likely tolerated. However, a gay who talks about his/her commitment to a "significant other" -- not sexual activity -- would be discriminated against. Bottom line -- that's what this policy is about -- discriminating against a group of people for their sexual inclination -- not activities.

Too many good people have been forced to live a life of lies and/or ommission...

Regarding sex for "procreation." Certainly, that's a valid biological function. It is, however, not the only function of our sexuality unless we have reduced ourselves to mere animals. The sexual relationship is also a social relationship. It's also about communion between two people. Were this not so, we should not have sex at all unless it is fully with the intention of procreating (and, actually, if procreating is the only reason, we can now do that without sex.) Yet, the fact remains that many engage in sexual relations with no intention of procreating and continue do so far beyond their childbearing/rearing years...

david

[This message has been edited by david (edited February 28, 2001).]


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