Saturday, December 4, 2010

Warrior...Show Me The Way..

How would you feel if everyone was talking about whether or not you should be allowed to exist?

You already exist, it's a plain fact..and everyday you do a dam good job of being you. However one day you decide to speak up and say, "Hey, I'm here and my life matters." To which everyone else then feels the need to discuss every aspect of your life, from who you love to the specifics of your moral character and how they relate to going to the bathroom and showering as if your being was contagious. Talking about you as if you just are not there and literally debating whether or not they will allow you to be who you already are. Would you be outraged? embarrassed? mortified to have you life subjected to a microscope to determine whether what you are is acceptable to everyone else?

Isn't this exactly what we are subjecting gay and lesbian soldiers to by purporting to study the effect that allowing them to serve openly would have on the military?

I know this was a part of the necessary foot dragging and bureaucratic paper shuffling that is necessary to get this repeal done...but how would the average American feel to have their life dissected and discussed in this manner? And furthermore...I feel like it is the character of all gay men and women being called into question here. It's not just the men and women who want to serve that is called into question in these Senate hearings...It's you and me...It's the character of all gay men and women. Can we follow the rules?...Will acknowledging are current existence cause mass panic in the ranks?...will we grope you in the shower?...will we give you AIDS when our feet are blown off by an IED?
Like I said, I know this may be a necessary evil...but is anyone else not ashamed by the level of discourse and innuendo here? I am fairly disgusted by many of the things I hear spoken and it makes me wonder how much worse it has to feel to an active duty gay soldier who has been an upright and moral person his entire life, and being told that he might have to have a separate shower and bathroom because he is deemed unable to control his sexual impulses and will thus rape any man he sees...or that other soldiers would consider moving their families off base rather than have to live in a neighborhood with that contains a gay couple.

--->"I won't raise my kids in a neighborhood with a gay family"(page 56)
There was a sick feeling  in my stomach as I read the report of the Pentagon Working Group, who recently released their findings about how Don't Ask Don't Tell might affect military readiness and moral. When you slog past the methodologies, histories, and statistics (which are positive toward a repeal) you also find the real thoughts and opinions of the soldiers who cared enough to complete the survey. It's those candidly shared thoughts that reveal the microscope that we are subjecting gay soldiers to and the great weight they carry in silence and alone everyday.

"How far are we going to go with this whole gay thing? Am I supposed to celebrate gayness-do they get to where a rainbow flag on their uniform? If that is the case, this uniform isn't worth wearing."(page 55)

"I believe that the impact would be devastating to me, my family, my unit, the military, our country, and the world!"(page 55)

"They should just sustain the standard. I don't like flamboyant queers."(page 54)
"If you are in an infantry company in a fire fight, and you have an open homosexual who gets wounded, who is going to want to treat him for the fear of HIV and other stuff?"(page 54)

Does it not make you want to hang you head? Especially when you hear the same comments come out of the men who are supposed to be our leaders? When Senators offer the same excuses in the midst of the Senate hearings..albeit in slightly more polite language? That is a true morale killer. It seems to me that the definition of courage is not just the ability to carry a rifle into combat, but to also face this daily onslaught against your very self and continue get out of bed every morning to do  your job with honor.

It's in the face of this lack of character and leadership and the fear of those to whom we are still invisible that we have to speak out loud. And since this report is all about the opinions of our men and women in uniform, I will let them lead the way in their own words....

Sing us on Lisa... me the way....

"I believe that this policy/law change will only enhance who we are as a great nation. We claim to be free when other nations have already accepted this factor into their environment. This is only something that will help us promote peace and implement non-prejudicial acts rather than hatred."(page  58)

Show me how you got to be so strong....

"I love America for its tolerance. I am willing to be a KIA (killed in action) because I think America values equality and civil liberties. It would be great if the institution I served in mirrored these ideals."(page 58)

Want you there if ever I'm wrong...

"I have served with gays in the military and found them to be of high caliber and encompassing all the Army values and performance standards. Performance has NEVER been an issue."(page 57) me the way...

I been thinking about you since I began...

"As a Battalion Commander for a unit who recently completed 12-month combat deployment to Iraq, I can say unequivocally that gay/lesbian Soldiers are integrated across our force, at the lowest tactical levels, with no negative operational impacts. In fact, my unit was far better, particularly technically and from a leadership perspective, with these Soldiers in positions of operational and organizational significance."(page 57)

Give me time, I'm doin' all I can...

"This is an equality issue, and who doesn't deserve equal rights? We have done it before with African Americans, and we have done it before with females. We can do it again. As brothers and sisters in arms, we stand and fight not only for our country, but for one another."(page 60)

You've been stealin' my attention all day...

"I think if it is lifted not alot of members will come out. They are your coworkers and things will stay where they are. If we didn't know that you are gay by now, it is unlikely that you will tell us."(page 59)

"I can't pick and choose what I enforce. I have strong religious beliefs but I have to leave them behind to do my job; if I can't do that, I've got to leave the Army."(page 61)

"All I care about is can you carry a gun, can you walk the post, as far as people in my unit."(page 57)

I hope to get you comin' my way...

"We have lost immeasurable talent and dedication with those discharged or never allowed to enter military service"(page 58)

"please repeal the act. We need all available men and women who are willing to serve their country, no matter what their sexual orientation"(page 58)

Everyday it gets better...

"With the younger generation it may not be as big of a deal. the percentage is alot higher with acceptance instead of 45 and older. The military population is conservative."(page 59)

"younger generations are more open. It's more the younger generations decision."(page 59)

"about separate facilities: we all went to college and stayed in dorms, we are all adult now and we have accepted it."(page 59)

You fought your battles and you never let up...

"I doubt I would run down the street yelling, 'I'm out!"; but it would take a knife out of my back I've had for a long time. You have no idea what it is like to serve in silence."(page 60)

"It is hard to explain to a child why their parents can;t hold hands or attend school or unit functions together the way other families do. It also places a strain on my relationship when I am deployed since I am afraid someone will find the picture I carry in my shirt pocket or find a letter from my family. It also makes it very difficult and uncomfortable to explain to someone why I wear a wedding ring when I am not married."(page 60)

...Oh me the way...

...How ya doin' it baby?...

I salute all the warriors out there, gay and straight, serving with honor and distinction...both those who carry a rifle..and those who are warriors of the heart...and for everyone who finds the courage to be who they are in the face of overwhelming odds.

Until next time dear readers...

DADTReport FINAL Hires)


  1. Honestly I find the whole 'study' thing to be ludicrous. Other military around the world have allowed openly gay soldiers to serve without so much hand-wringing as we have in this country.

    The other thing that irks me is that most people forget that not only is a President a President, but the President is also the Commander in Chief.

    Obama could have stopped the discharges with the stroke of a pen yet he didn't. Some advocate!

  2. Thank you for this. After I read some of the comments in the DADT report (many of which you've cited above) I had a very difficult time going to work the next day knowing that this was what some of my colleagues were thinking.

    Anyway, I have followed you and your family on youtube for a long time now and I appreciate all of the videos and commentary that you & Jay have done (especially on this issue). Thanks & hope you are having a great weekend. :-)

  3. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people can dehumanize us when we are not what they want us to be. I can accept different beliefs and thoughts but to regard us as less than Human and a plague from which to run from is not acceptable.

    The mere fact our rights have to be discussed or voted on is a sign we are less than equal, less than Human. Human rights are universal. The thought they are not is what should be held to discussion.

  4. I'm one of those old timers that still has AOL. I was reading their news yesterday and there was an article about the DADT repeal. I decided to check out the "comment" section and it nearly turned my stomach. It is just amazing to me how much homophobia is out there. There were quotes like.."the only good queer is a dead queer"...or "they will infect the entire military with AIDS.."
    I often wonder if the people writing these nasty comments are closeted gay people-people that are completely immersed with self hatred and internal homophobia? In other words..."if I bash gay people verbally or with a pen then people will not think that I am gay.."
    I wonder...