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Author Topic: Don't Ask Don't Tell
Speed
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There's an episode of Independent Lens tonight that deals with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law:

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/asknot/

I haven't seen it, but I heard one of the people featured in the program interviewed on Fresh Air this week. The interview was pretty enlightening, so I've got the show set to Tivo tonight, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

This is one of my major "glass-half-full" issues when it comes to Obama. For all the things that I'm concerned about, there are other issues like this that I'm optimistic that he can sort out while he's in charge.

I know there are a lot of people here that oppose gay marriage, and there's no point opening that up again. But is there still any real controversy about openly gay people serving in the military? I know Obama is moving slower than some people expected on this, which is reasonable--changing laws takes time, and there are a lot of high priorities right now. But are there any significant blocks of voters, legislators or Jatraqueros who still really think it's okay to reject or discharge people from the military for being openly gay?

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Tatiana
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Speed, I searched out the Fresh Air interview you mentioned, and listened to it just now. I feel the same as you about the issue, and about Obama's neglect so far. I thought the one line he said was very telling. He mentioned that the first African American president has ignored the largest civil rights issue of our time. That's very sad, isn't it?

I hope he's able to do something soon. I hope someone is.

The thing that jumps to my mind is Alan Turing in Britain solving the Enigma code during WW2 giving Britain a huge advantage in fighting the U-boats in the Atlantic. The whole war could have been turned because of that. Who knows? Anyway, if we exile our potential Alan Turings from the fight, how are we different from Hitler kicking out all the Jewish physicists before WW2? (I know, Godwin's law, but this time it really applies.) Who knows if that won't completely turn the tide of the war?

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Herblay
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I served in the Navy for six years, and I'd say that there are some significant problems with openly gay servicemembers, albeit most are logistic. But the fact is, a military fighting unit works most efficiently when sex isn't part of the equation: heterosexual or homosexual.

Allowing openly gay servicemembers is a great idea in theory, but serving in the military isn't a day camp. Take a Navy ship for example. Men are berthed in certain cabin areas and women in others. Generally, members of the opposite sex aren't allowed in these areas. Enlisted are stacked three bunks high in rows. In just one row of the small bunk area that I stayed, there were 24 sailors. There are group showers, and there are literally dozens of naked / half-naked people during massive dressing or showering times (after physical training). I don't know if Army camps are quite so limited in space, but there isn't a lot of room on a ship.

Beyond birthing requirements, a majority of servicemembers are between the ages of 18 and 21. Many of these kids are from rather restrictive backgrounds, and this is their first time away from home. A good many people in this category try new things: drinking, sex, and smoking are prevalent. And as much as its frowned upon, people try to have sex as frequently as possible. No matter how strict the punishment or supervision, kids are hiding everywhere and . . . you know. That's one of the reasons why men and women are berthed seperately.

Where would you berth openly gay servicemembers? Would they use group showers with the men? It would cause more problems for them to be with the opposite sex. And you couldn't berth all of the openly gay crewmembers together in their own berths either. But they couldn't be exempt from these type of duties, they'd have to serve the hard stations like anyone else.

Defining an independant identity would be detrimental. Sex shouln't be out in the workplace, whether heterosexual or homosexual. People can face punishment in the military for open sexual behavior of many types, open homosexuality is only one of them. When you trust your life to other people, you have to remove sex from the equation: whether its someone screaming gay pride in your ear or teenagers humping in an equipment cabinet --- both are detrimental to a cohesive fighting force.

There are countless gay servicemembers. Everyone knows they are gay, everyone treats them fairly, and nobody talks about it.. Some people would would get punished almost as readily for heterosexual displays. And there are certainly exceptions to this rule, as the military can certainly be bawdy, but for the most part it holds true. Gay people are accepted, they are our friends and co-workers. We attend movies with them, eat with them, shower with them after physical training. And if they don't talk about it, there is no recrimination, discrimination, or violence.

But if we seperate them, we need to address the deeper issues. If I'm actively declaring my sexuality, how can I live in such close intimacy with people I declare to be attracted to? When I define sexuality as part of the logistical equation, how do I orchestrate the logistics to prohibit sexual behavior?

But the law does need to be changed. No statistics of homosexuality should be tracked, no questions asked. Currently, you have to fill out a form swearing that you've never engaged in a homosexual act. That requirement should be removed. And punishments need to continue to be enforced for ANY openly sexual act while in uniform.

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Synesthesia
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I'd argue that most gay men from years of showing with other men in school probably have more control with other men than straight men would have with women.
Plus it's not as if gay men are attracted to EVERY MAN THEY SEE anymore than lesbians want all the women.

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ClaudiaTherese
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I wonder if there is something to learn from looking carefully at how other countries' militaries structure daily routines in those contexts when there is neither deliberate exclusion based on sexual preference nor a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
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Lyrhawn
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Syn -

I don't think that's necessarily the point. Not all discomfort comes from overt sexual overtures. If several women were forced to take group showers with several men, I suspect the men wouldn't have to make any sort of active effort to make the women uncomfortable. They would be just based on the situation. While I don't think it'd be exactly the same with gay men or women in a same sex shower, I suspect it'd be similar, and I suspect that the argument is that such discomfort radiates beyond berthing areas and could affect combat readiness.

Some of that I buy, some I don't. A lot of white people had problems serving with blacks when integration was first mandated, but they got over it. I think a lot of the problems being listed, with some, like Herblay says, logistical changes being made, can be gotten over with time and effort.

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Speed
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It might help to remember that the term "openly gay" in this context doesn't mean putting on a thong and a pink boa and throwing a gay pride parade in the middle of the ship.

It means being able to mention your partner back home without having to change the pronoun you use, being able to date someone you're attracted to on your time off without constant paranoia that you'll run into someone you know, and generally just not having to be completely asexual from the time you enlist until you retire.

Sure, it's worth talking about things like showering and berthing situations. But I strongly believe the solutions to these problems will have a lot more to do with acclimating the straight people to the situation than getting the gay people to keep in in their pants.

And in any case, I strongly believe that the benefits (both moral and practical) of allowing compitent gay people to openly serve in the military will far outweigh the benefits of letting some of the more sheltered straight people pretend that it isn't happening.

Just my opinion, though. And keep in mind these are opinions I've formed without ever having served a day of my life in the military, so even if I don't completely agree with Herblay and our other people in uniform, I do value your input. [Smile]

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Speed:
It might help to remember that the term "openly gay" in this context doesn't mean putting on a thong and a pink boa and throwing a gay pride parade in the middle of the ship.

I don't think there's a single person in here making that argument.
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ClaudiaTherese
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This might be interesting: Wikipedia article, Sexual orientation and military service. Details in the article go beyond a simple listing of country policies. For example, with regards to Canada:

quote:
In 1976, the Canadian Forces issued Canadian Forces Administrative Order (CFAO) 19-20, which allowed members suspected of being homosexual to be investigated and then subsequently released. This order was repealed in 1992, after a challenge by then CF Member Michelle Douglas, thereby allowing gay, lesbian and transgendered people to serve in the Canadian Forces free from harassment and discrimination.

A series of provincial and territorial Supreme Court decisions beginning in 2003 ruled in favour of the legality of gay marriage, and a national law to that effect was passed by Canada's parliament in 2005 by the Paul Martin Liberal government. In May 2005, Canada's first military gay wedding took place at Nova Scotia's Canadian Forces Base Greenwood. Officials described the ceremony as low-key but touching. A similar wedding has since taken place between two male Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers.

Today, the Canadian Forces recognizes same-sex marital and common-law unions, and affords them the same benefits offered to all married or common-law serving members.
...

Of course, it is Wikipedia and come with all the standard caveats involving primary and secondary sources, etc.
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by ricree101:
quote:
Originally posted by Speed:
It might help to remember that the term "openly gay" in this context doesn't mean putting on a thong and a pink boa and throwing a gay pride parade in the middle of the ship.

I don't think there's a single person in here making that argument.
It wasn't intended as a direct rebuttal to anyone's argument. I was just entering it as part of the discussion.
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Speed
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Just to make it a little more clear (and maybe cool down the powder keg), none of my post was intended as a smack-down to Herblay. I know you're the only person to take up a real devils-advocate position so far, so my post (and my possibly unintentionally snarky demeanor) may be interpreted as trying to beat you back.

I read your post as reasonable and realistic points to consider from someone with experience. So if I sound like I'm responding snarkily to someone who was making a rabidly homophobic defense of the status quo, #1: that's not how I intended it, and #2: that person wasn't you.

Hope that helps. [Smile]

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ClaudiaTherese
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[Edited to add: I understood you the first time, Speed, but that strikes me as a terrific clarification to add.]

---

Mind you -- in continuing on with the line of thought I am pursuing -- just because something works somewhere else in the world, doesn't mean it would work in another given place. Cultures differ. Contexts differ.

However, if the concern is deal with succesfully in other national militaries, or if it indeed is not even of concern in some such places, then there is not something peculiar to the military context and the military way of life that precludes it from being dealt with as a matter of course. It may be precluded to some extent and for some time by the American military context, but -- if it works elsewhere, in other militaries -- that isn't impossible over time. That is, it is something which can be changed without destroying the ability of a military to remain a functional force.

So, hope. Hope and evidence and trackable outcomes and, possibly, indications of some paths others have trodden before.

---

Also added: Israel strikes me as having a more active military than the US, at least in the sense of the average soldier dealing with a greater percentage of time in active duty, including dealing with terrorism at home or abroad. (I could well be wrong on this; it's just an impression.)

Given that one might expect having openly gay members to be more of an issue in wartime than peacetime (e.g., because time and location constraints would make separate accomodation more difficult to maintain in the field), the question of how other very active militaries sort things through might be even more useful than numbers at a whole.

Interestingly, according to the Wikipedia link above, Russia "excludes all gays and lesbians during peacetime but allows some gay men to serve in wartime ...."

And as for Israel:

quote:
Israel Defense Forces policies allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly and without discrimination or harassment due to actual or perceived sexual orientation.[13] This was put into effect in 1993 after an IDF reserves officer testified before the Knesset claiming that his rank had been revoked, and that he had been barred from researching sensitive topics in military intelligence, solely because of his sexual identity. Homosexuals serve openly in the military, including special units, without any discrimination.[14][15] Moreover, gays in the IDF have additional rights, such as the right to take a shower alone if they want to. According to a University of California, Santa Barbara study,[16] a brigadier general stated that Israelis show a "great tolerance" for gay soldiers. Consul David Saranga at the Israeli Consulate in New York, who was interviewed by the St. Petersburg Times, said, “It's a non-issue. You can be a very good officer, a creative one, a brave one, and be gay at the same time.”[17]

...

-----------------------------

[13] [New York Times article] Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military, By JOHN M. SHALIKASHVILI, January 2, 2007.

[14] Eichner, Itamar (2007-02-08). "Follow Israel's example on gays in the military," US study says. Ynetnews. Retrieved on 2008-09-30.

[15] The chief of staff's policy states that it is strictly forbidden to harm or hurt anyone's dignity or feeling based on their gender or sexual orientation in any way, including signs, slogans, pictures, poems, lectures, any means of guidance, propaganda, publishing, voicing, and utterance.

[16] Homosexuality and the Israel Defense Forces: Did Lifting the Gay Ban Undermine Military Performance?

[17] Follow Israel's example on gays in the military, US study says, by Itamar Eichner, February 8, 2007.
...



[ June 20, 2009, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
I'd argue that most gay men from years of showing with other men in school probably have more control with other men than straight men would have with women.
Plus it's not as if gay men are attracted to EVERY MAN THEY SEE anymore than lesbians want all the women.

I don't want every woman I see, so should I be allowed into the womens showers?

I realize that this issue hits home to you, but trying to portray it as a simplistic issue belittles the issues involved, as well as the people involved.

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Paul Goldner
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Actually, I think it is a simplistic issue.

Are gays full citizens, or not? Answer that question, and you've answered the question as to whether or not they should be able to serve openly in the military.

There might be logistic issues in terms of preventing sexual harrassment. But those aren't reasons to prevent gays from being full citizens, and preventing them from serving in the military is denying access to full citizenship.

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
I'd argue that most gay men from years of showing with other men in school probably have more control with other men than straight men would have with women.
Plus it's not as if gay men are attracted to EVERY MAN THEY SEE anymore than lesbians want all the women.

I don't want every woman I see, so should I be allowed into the womens showers?

I realize that this issue hits home to you, but trying to portray it as a simplistic issue belittles the issues involved, as well as the people involved.

No, I don't think I even want to shower with a group of anyone, and it doesn't totally hit home to me being only semi-gay and not totally gay, but bi leaning towards men and not really wanting to join the military. I'm against portraying issues as simplistic and think that if gays and lesbians want to serve, especially in a time like now where there's a lot of conflict, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to serve and have a choice about how open they want to be.
I can't understand why it's an issue when there's a need for as many people to serve as possible.

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Speed:
Just to make it a little more clear (and maybe cool down the powder keg), none of my post was intended as a smack-down to Herblay. I know you're the only person to take up a real devils-advocate position so far, so my post (and my possibly unintentionally snarky demeanor) may be interpreted as trying to beat you back.

I read your post as reasonable and realistic points to consider from someone with experience. So if I sound like I'm responding snarkily to someone who was making a rabidly homophobic defense of the status quo, #1: that's not how I intended it, and #2: that person wasn't you.

Hope that helps. [Smile]

I'm sorry if my reply came off as overly confrontational, that was not my intention. I suppose my point in making the post (and I should have clarified this from the start) was that we already had a reasonable and well thought out post on the one side of the issue. To me, it seemed pointless to open the statement with a strawman that had not been mentioned rather than to directly address the points that were made.

So again, I apologize for not making my point plain the first time around, and for posting in a somewhat confrontational tone.

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Samprimary
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1.

quote:
There is big news today on the gays in the military front: the Palm Center commissioned the first-ever statistical study of whether the presence of known gays in a unit has any impact on unit cohesion and the results are in: "The data indicated no associations between knowing a lesbian or gay unit member and ratings of perceived unit cohesion or readiness. Instead, findings pointed to the importance of leadership and instrumental quality in shaping perceptions of unit cohesion and readiness."

The new study was conducted by Drs. Bonnie Moradi of the University of Florida and Laura Miller of the Rand Corporation, a think tank with longstanding ties to the Pentagon started after World War II by former military officers. The study is under review at Armed Forces and Society, the nation's leading peer-reviewed journal of national security and civil-military relations.

2.

quote:
Integrating the military will affect morale and unit cohesion. People in the military tend to be socially conservative, and this is a change that undeniably will make them uncomfortable.

But that doesn't make it a valid reason for keeping 'don't ask don't tell' in place.

Look at the logic. Gay advocates say 'the military ban on homosexuals represents a denial of rights to a recognized minority group'. Right-wing legislators respond with 'but letting gays fight in the military is hard.'

This is like telling your Senator that your brother has been imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, and the Senator responds with 'Well there aren't any buses that go to the prison to take him home, so he'll just have to stay.'

I have no doubt that racially integrating the military in 1948 negatively affected morale and unit cohesion. The military was socially conservative in the 1940s, too. That shit was hard. But it was the right thing to do, so America sacked up, dealt with the consequences and waited for the new normal.

http://www.palmcenter.org/node/1221 and http://rottenindenmark.vox.com/library/post/gays-in-the-military-will-create-an-unacceptable-risk-to-standards-of-morale-and-unit-cohesion.html respectively.
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
I'd argue that most gay men from years of showing with other men in school probably have more control with other men than straight men would have with women.
Plus it's not as if gay men are attracted to EVERY MAN THEY SEE anymore than lesbians want all the women.

I don't want every woman I see, so should I be allowed into the womens showers?

I realize that this issue hits home to you, but trying to portray it as a simplistic issue belittles the issues involved, as well as the people involved.

No, I don't think I even want to shower with a group of anyone, and it doesn't totally hit home to me being only semi-gay and not totally gay, but bi leaning towards men and not really wanting to join the military. I'm against portraying issues as simplistic and think that if gays and lesbians want to serve, especially in a time like now where there's a lot of conflict, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to serve and have a choice about how open they want to be.
I can't understand why it's an issue when there's a need for as many people to serve as possible.

I referred earlier to serving alongside homosexuals, and I thought that I'd expound a little on that.

Obviously, you can see how heated debates about gays and gay rights can be in the US. With the current policy there ARE many openly gay individuals. I knew one gentleman who spoke with a terrific lisp, was completely stereotypically FLAMING, and called all of the guys "sweetheart". He was treated as one of the group, and no one every brought up his sexuality.

But really, a good portion of the military are bible-thumping rednecks. Most of the modern military consists of the poor, commonly from the South and states like Texas, Mississippi, and Michigan. And as many good men and women as I saw, fundamental Christians can also be among the most bigotted people. Now, I'm not saying that they didn't serve with distinction --- because they did. And I never saw an openly gay man or woman be treated unfairly (other than private "behind their back" ridicule). But when people drop the professionalism and start talking about their sex lives in a military environment, it's going to draw criticism regardless of orientation. Under the current policies, people just don't talk about it.

And we have the strongest, best trained, and most effective military in the world. Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen live and breath and work side by side. They shower together, groom together --- all privacy is lost. And again, how do you let people broach the issue of their sexuality without it disturbing that tight knit community. We seperate men and women to desexualize our military. You can't seperate men and men, or women and women.

Homosexuals NEED to be treated fairly and equally. But allowing open homosexuals to berth with other members of the same sex is to treat everyone unfairly. There is no personal privacy. There are no private showers. There is no way to segregate people into non-sexual groups. Sure, if this was college and everyone had their own room. . . .

But to give them special treatment would be wrong too. The current system needs tweaking, and it certainly isn't perfect, but gays ARE serving openly. Everyone knows. But by not speaking about it, we're not forced to address the logistics. We don't "upset the rednecks", and everyone gets treated the same.

The real solution, in the end, would be to de-segregate the military. It is rumored that the Dutch Navy has done this (not sure), that everyone berths together. But getting THIS pass the brass is going to be tough. It would be the perfect solution for Obama to impose, but I doubt he has the guts. Then the military could fight the real problems involved and it wouldn't have to look the other way.

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dabbler
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I expect any military person (and high hopes for any person in general) to be able to behave appropriately and would not confer any caveats or extra considerations in the specific situation of bathing in a co-ed environment. If I were in the military and showered in a communal shower of both genders, I would have expected respectful behavior.
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dabbler
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Herblay, I would think that specifically desegregating genders would be more powerful in desexualizing the situation.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:

... anymore than lesbians want all the women.

Ok, look, you imagine what YOU want to imagine, but don't ruin MY fantasies... Ok?
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Eaquae Legit
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quote:
Originally posted by dabbler:
I expect any military person (and high hopes for any person in general) to be able to behave appropriately and would not confer any caveats or extra considerations in the specific situation of bathing in a co-ed environment. If I were in the military and showered in a communal shower of both genders, I would have expected respectful behavior.

I would expect it and demand it, but it's a shameful fact that sexual harassment and assault is rampant and underreported in the military.
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Chris Bridges
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"There are countless gay servicemembers. Everyone knows they are gay, everyone treats them fairly, and nobody talks about it.. Some people would would get punished almost as readily for heterosexual displays. And there are certainly exceptions to this rule, as the military can certainly be bawdy, but for the most part it holds true. Gay people are accepted, they are our friends and co-workers. We attend movies with them, eat with them, shower with them after physical training. And if they don't talk about it, there is no recrimination, discrimination, or violence."

If this is the case, what's the problem?

As has been said, gays already serve in the military, many of them known to coworkers. So that shouldn't need to change. What's being asked is that we remove the thing that says "if we officially find out what everyone already unofficially knows, we have to throw you out." Overt displays of sexuality or inappropriate behavior should be discouraged and/or penalized no matter what genders are involved.

And honestly, if it comes down to a much-needed gay Arabic translator and an annoyed, bigoted serviceman, I say lose the bigot.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
Allowing openly gay servicemembers is a great idea in theory, but serving in the military isn't a day camp. Take a Navy ship for example. Men are berthed in certain cabin areas and women in others. Generally, members of the opposite sex aren't allowed in these areas. Enlisted are stacked three bunks high in rows. In just one row of the small bunk area that I stayed, there were 24 sailors. There are group showers, and there are literally dozens of naked / half-naked people during massive dressing or showering times (after physical training). I don't know if Army camps are quite so limited in space, but there isn't a lot of room on a ship.

Somehow, other countries manage. How would you rate the Israeli army, for example?
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
But when people drop the professionalism and start talking about their sex lives in a military environment, it's going to draw criticism regardless of orientation. Under the current policies, people just don't talk about it.

I suspect that's not true, Herblay. You're saying that no heterosexuals in the military ever mention having a girlfriend? A wife? How is that any different from a lesbian in the military, for example, mentioning her girlfriend or partner.

And pardon me for saying so, but men talk about sex a lot. I find it really hard to believe it's that different in the military.

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Synesthesia
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Watching this documentary now. It's just ridiculous to lower the standards to include convicted felons and to not recruit openly gay people. I imagine how frustrating it must be to have to lie so much about your sexuality. That could get in the way of being a good soldier I think.

Also, it's my opinion that women in the military probably face more sexual harassment from straight men than straight men from gay men, but this is probably just a guess.

Seems like a pretty messed up culture from my biased point of view.

Also, these two guys are so romantic together. [Smile]

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Speed
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I Tivoed the show, but since it's been such a crazy morning I've only been able to see about half of it.

I guess I shouldn't give my opinion until I finish, but so far I thought the Fresh Air interviews were much more enlightening and persuasive. Not that Ask Not was bad, but if you're going to spend an hour of your life considering the issue, you'll probably get a greater density of facts and analysis here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=06-16-2009&view=storyview

Of course, I might change my mind when I finish the show. But I just thought I'd put the Fresh Air link up, in case anyone wants to compare.

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Samprimary
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quote:
But when people drop the professionalism and start talking about their sex lives in a military environment, it's going to draw criticism regardless of orientation.
Good luck getting soldiers to not talk about sex.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
...
Also, it's my opinion that women in the military probably face more sexual harassment from straight men than straight men from gay men, but this is probably just a guess.

Uh, yeah.
Thats kind of an understatement.
quote:
Between 2006 and 2008, some 40 women who served in the Iraq War spoke to me of their experiences at war. Twenty-eight of them had been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped while serving.

They were not exceptions. According to several studies of the US military funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 30% of military women are raped while serving, 71% are sexually assaulted, and 90% are sexually harassed.

The Department of Defense acknowledges the problem, estimating in its 2009 annual report on sexual assault (issued last month) that some 90% of military sexual assaults are never reported.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8005198.stm

quote:
Reports of sexual assault by US military personnel against both fellow troops and civilians rose by 8% last year to 2,923, the Pentagon says.

The number of incidents reported in Iraq and Afghanistan rose by about a quarter on the previous year to 163.

Pentagon officials say the jump in reports suggests the department's policy of encouraging victims to come forward is bearing results.

But they estimate that no more than 20% of attacks are actually reported.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7950439.stm
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
Actually, I think it is a simplistic issue.

Are gays full citizens, or not? Answer that question, and you've answered the question as to whether or not they should be able to serve openly in the military.

There might be logistic issues in terms of preventing sexual harrassment. But those aren't reasons to prevent gays from being full citizens, and preventing them from serving in the military is denying access to full citizenship.

Not really. There are a ton of issues that such a simplistic view ignores or marginalizes.

Keep in mind that I am in favor of allowing gays to server, but even I know it's more than that.


You can make a blanket statement about almost any issue, as long as you ignore the other persons concerns and assume they are idiots.

Simple doesn't mean clearer, or more correct.

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Paul Goldner
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"Not really. There are a ton of issues that such a simplistic view ignores or marginalizes."

I'm sorry, but full citizenship requires the ability to serve in the military. If you value all those other issues as much or more than the question of full citizenship, and say those other issues preclude gays from serving, you also have to answer the question of citizenship with a "no."

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Samprimary
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quote:
full citizenship requires the ability to serve in the military.
Therefore, handicapped people need not be considered full citizens?
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Fusiachi
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"Not really. There are a ton of issues that such a simplistic view ignores or marginalizes."

I'm sorry, but full citizenship requires the ability to serve in the military. If you value all those other issues as much or more than the question of full citizenship, and say those other issues preclude gays from serving, you also have to answer the question of citizenship with a "no."

Women still can't serve in Combat Arms...

Edit: CA to 'combat arms'.

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Darth_Mauve
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But Paul, citizens are routinely disqualified from serving their country due to infirmity, or age. The question isn't, "Are homosexuals not citizens." The question is, "Do homosexuals bring something to the theater of combat that makes them more of a detriment than an attribute."

Herblay points out possible detriments--the uncomfortable feeling many of the less worldly soldiers will feel when they knowing shower with a homosexual member.

I believe that same fear is there, and worse, because under "Don't ask/Don't tell" you don't know if the person your in the shower with is gay or straight.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Herblay points out possible detriments--the uncomfortable feeling many of the less worldly soldiers will feel when they knowing shower with a homosexual member.

I will not say it.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"Not really. There are a ton of issues that such a simplistic view ignores or marginalizes."

I'm sorry, but full citizenship requires the ability to serve in the military. If you value all those other issues as much or more than the question of full citizenship, and say those other issues preclude gays from serving, you also have to answer the question of citizenship with a "no."

Thank you for proving my point. Ignoring issues in favor of a simplistic response doesn't make those issues go away, nor does it solve anything.

And I don't have to answer something I don't believe, regardless of how many times you say I do. There are a few populations that don't have the right/ability to serve, and in MY mind that doesn't make them any less citizens. If it makes YOU consider them less, perhaps you need to reconsider why.

In a perfect world they would be able to serve. In the future they probably will.

But I am not a fan of social experimentation in combat zones, and anyone who thinks military life is "just like" civilian life has not served.

And for the record, while serving in Armed Forces, any NUMBER of "rights" are curtailed, per the UCMJ. This is just ONE of them.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Herblay points out possible detriments--the uncomfortable feeling many of the less worldly soldiers will feel when they knowing shower with a homosexual member.

An awful lot of "less worldly soldiers" probably believe that Jews have horns. And btw, I've met numerous people who really did believe that; it's bizarrely not a rare thing. So should Jews be barred from the military? Or maybe just allowed to serve if they keep their Jewishness under wraps? After all, religion shouldn't have any place in the military.

I'm going to ask again, how is it that other countries seem not to have any problem with this.

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Kwea
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We seem to have bigger issues with it than some other countries, to be sure. That doesn't change the fact that those issues exist.

I imagine it will happen, but just mandating it without regard to the possible consequences is not very smart.

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Chris Bridges
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Thing is, as evidenced by the number of Arabic translators that have been removed from the military, this is damaging our military ability.

An officer who assaults a female recruit gets slapped on the wrist (see the many examples of that in the links above), possibly promoted. A gay serviceman with a clean record and a vitally needed ability gets cashiered out, no questions, no review. How is this in any way fair, just, or intelligent?

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Paul Goldner
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"Therefore, handicapped people need not be considered full citizens? "

Handicapped people are not automatically disqualified from the military. They are disqualified from positions that required them to perform duties they cannot because of their handicap.

"Women still can't serve in Combat Arms..."

And I think that says something about how we think of women in this country.

" Ignoring issues in favor of a simplistic response doesn't make those issues go away, nor does it solve anything."

It does redirect the question, though.

"And I don't have to answer something I don't believe, regardless of how many times you say I do."

Its a general "you."

"There are a few populations that don't have the right/ability to serve"

I can only think of two populations that are automatically excluded from all military service regardless of ability to serve: Children, and gays. Are there others?

"and in MY mind that doesn't make them any less citizens. If it makes YOU consider them less, perhaps you need to reconsider why.""

I don't consider them less. I think its blindingly freaking obvious that disqualifying people from military service based upon membership in a group indicates that the group is not considered to be full participants in the polity. One of the major reasons for the existence of a state is to defend the territory, resources, and citizens of the state. If a group of people is not allowed to participate in that function of government, then they are barred from serving the state in a very fundamental realm of state authority.

"But I am not a fan of social experimentation in combat zones,"

*Shrug* It actually seems to work well. Regardless, we're not talking about dropping gays into the military in such a way that there first service is in the heat of action, so this is a strawman.

"And for the record, while serving in Armed Forces, any NUMBER of "rights" are curtailed, per the UCMJ. This is just ONE of them. "

Yup, rights are curtailed. One of the rights curtailed is the right to be gay. One of the rights not curtailed is the right to be straight. This tells me a lot about the citizenship we accord to gays.

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Kwea
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Do you know WHY women aren't allow there? I do..my AUNT, a full Col in the Marines, helped make that decision. It has nothing to do wiht WOMEN'S abilities to carry out missions, although there are some concerns in specific types of missions.

It has to do with the other soldiers reactions, and how that compromises missions. It may not be "fair" to a civilian, but in the service the most important consideration is can the mission be completed.

We are rapidly approaching the point where women WILL be allowed to serve in these types of units. But it will never be fair, because I doubt women will EVER be COMPELLED to serve.

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Samprimary
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my fav arbitrary sex-based limitation is: if you a womman, you can't work on a submarine
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The Pixiest
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You'd think there'd be more women on a submarine since we're smaller and small is a plus in such a cramped environment.

What's the rationale, Samp?

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aeolusdallas
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I would think that submarines would work best with all female crews. As to gays serving openly in the military I can't understand why those who oppose them serving think it's fair to heterosexual men. They have to serve if there is a draft but gay guys get out of it.
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Darth_Mauve
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Ok. Here is a practical question.

If I was handicapped, I would be able to serve up to the point where my handicap becomes a detriment.

If I am a woman, I would be allowed to serve up to the point where my gender becomes a detriment.

If I am a person of faith, I would be allowed to serve up to the point where my faith becomes a detriment (you are not allowed to evangelize in many posts that you serve, nor are you allowed to distribute Bibles and other literature to the native population. Such evangelism would anger the native clerics.)

Why can't a person who finds their own sex attractive be able to serve up to the point where it becomes a detriment. I would think that having any Arab translator in your unit would be a much bigger plus to morale than their sexuality would be a negative.

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Kwea
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Subs go out for months at a time, and there is simply NO room for alternate accomidations. There is literally no privacy.

As far as being fair....hell, NOTHING about a draft is EVER fair, and nothing will ever made it fair. Besides, there are a lot more women than gay men who are exempt. [Big Grin]

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Kwea
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Check this out... interesting develpment regarding subs though....
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Are gays full citizens, or not? Answer that question, and you've answered the question as to whether or not they should be able to serve openly in the military.
Actually, Paul, 'are you a full citizen, or not?' is not - nor should it be - the only test one must pass before being allowed to serve in the military.

I don't think homosexuality should be part of the discussion, but obviously there are by necessity going to be some disqualifying factors-especially in a volunteer military service.

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Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
Check this out... interesting develpment regarding subs though....

Heh, the first comment under the article (from 28.11.08, 2:26pm) is from a woman who serves on a submarine in the Australian Navy. Strangely, they seem to manage having women included...
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:



Why can't a person who finds their own sex attractive be able to serve up to the point where it becomes a detriment. I would think that having any Arab translator in your unit would be a much bigger plus to morale than their sexuality would be a negative.

It depends...trust is perhaps the most important issue in battle. If you don't trust your bunkmate then nothing else really matters.


That being said, I think we will find ways around this issue, and I hope to see the day where it won't affect mission objectives.

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