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Rant Control

Don't Ask, Don't Tell—Don't Care?

By Jesse Fruhwirth
Posted // November 17,2010 - Brandon Burt pondered the possibility that perhaps the queer movement is better off with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—the military’s discriminatory rule that keeps queer soldiers closeted [see “DADT—Should We Keep It?” Nov. 14,]. Online commenters mostly shared his ambivalence.

Joseph told of his own experience of joining the military and later using his homosexuality as a way to avoid service in the foolish and failed Vietnam War.

“They did not believe I was gay, so I had to go to a psychiatrist for evaluation,” Joseph wrote. “Eventually, I was given a general discharge with honorable conditions.”

Hayduke, with obvious snark in response to Joseph, pointed out the obvious.

“Seems the fact that it was illegal for gays to serve openly worked out quite well for you, then,” Hayduke wrote.

Rant Control also has mixed feelings about repealing DADT [see “Honored Silence: Gay Soldiers on Veterans Day” Nov. 11,]. However, when the issue of national security really hits the fan and assuming the government re-institutes a draft, DADT, if not already repealed, will be forgotten quicker than Karl Rove’s first wife. That being the case, queers ought to be able to join in peacetime, like everyone else—if ever we return to peacetime.

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Posted // November 18,2010 at 10:03

Jebus. The post above sounds a bit like the rant of a lunatic. I didn’t have time to compose a complete thought regarding this subject and shouldn’t have posted what I wrote in haste. Sounds like some runaway bacchanalia replete with burning and pillaging. And rape. This is the problem with blogging instead of writing articles. When you blog casually, you can become careless with your words. I should start treating these blogs more like articles.

I am not blasé regarding DADT and shouldn’t treat the matter lightly. In know it means a lot to many people.

What I meant to better illustrate above is, though the gay community will eventually get some law passed that will allow them to enlist and serve openly, that law won’t do anything to curb homophobia within the ranks, which I believe would come to the forefront when gay soldiers are finally allowed to be gay soldiers.

I’d imagine that many homophobes within the ranks will not accept their gay brothers’ and sisters’ newfound freedom and some will act out in ways common among homophobe civilians: bullying, name calling, shunning, and violent acts. Seriously, research how many enlisted women are raped now by other enlistees and how the military handles that. You’ll find several reported cases and, because you’re smart, know that there must be many more that aren’t reported.

The military creates certain dynamics that can contribute to in-house bullying and officers have been known on many occasions to turn a blind eye and allow things to play out as they will. This behavior can be greatly exacerbated during wartime deployment, where normal people can become ever more desensitized and cruel. Those soldiers that were cruel beforehand become animals. My fear is that, for a time after the inception of said law, that gays serving openly in the military will be greeted with fists, rather than open arms, so to speak.

I know a lot of very respectable people serving in the military, good people. I also know that many soldiers, while they may not personally approve of homosexuality, would never do a thing to hurt anybody in that way. But I know that there are many others that would go out of their way to cause harm. I wonder if repealing this law will have an unexpected backlash among the ranks and how severe that backlash would be?

All you have to do is pay attention to how so many hetero civilians treat their homosexual brothers and sisters, and apply that to a military situation. The military is an old institution and will not evolve as quickly as a law can be passed.

On the other hand, if nothing is done and gay enlistees don’t continue fighting for their rights and for acceptance, nothing will change. It just sucks to think that, while a gay enlistee is fighting an outside enemy, they’d also have to deal with enemies within.

And that’s why I tend to side with Troy in that I’d not serve with or for a country or populace (or corporation) that refuses to accept me: if the “straights” will not accept me for who I am, the “straights” can do the killing and dying. I feel the same about gays attending BYU, and about gays trying to beat the Mormon church into accepting them for who they are. I say let the close-minded homophobes have their little clubs while they last and move on to better things. I know you feel differently about that, Jesse, and I really respect that about you. You’re tough and willing to fight for change. I’m sure there are many, many gay enlistees that feel the same way as you. I’m just a straight man trying to see and understand something that is obviously out of reach of his puny mind.


Posted // November 19,2010 at 15:06 - That's another thing I was wondering. Once DADT is repealed, will queer soldiers begin acting "queer" (which led into my diatribe above), or will they continue acting "straight"? Obviously, there are many gay men that you'd never know were gay, but... Hope this isn't offensive to any gay men out there. I've had a couple gay friends that I'd never have known were gay had they not told me (one told me at a nudie (chicks) club in Portland when I asked how he was enjoying the show - he wasn't, so we went to a gay strip club, instead). On the other hand, I've got gay friends that, were they to try and hide their orientation, would come off something like Nathan Lane in The Bird Cage. WTF. This gay-straight military thing is beginning to seriously confuse me. All I know is that if I were gay and in the military, I'd not make it a point to show it off even if I could, anymore than I make it a point to show off my "straightness". I guess that DADT is just another slap in the face to the gay men and women that serve in the military. I'd like to hear from a gay enlistee on this subject. Barring that, I'd like to hear from a gay man or woman with an opinion on the matter. Thanks for playing, Mamba.


Posted // November 19,2010 at 13:37 - I'm part of the "Who Cares?" crowd on DADT. How do you keep "queer soldiers" closeted? I mean, are gay military people going to act differently if DADT is repealed? Is there going to be wholesale barracks redecoration? Gourmet cooking classes in the mess hall? Male Singles Night at the NCO club? Worse yet, Male Burlesque Night at the NCO club? Pride Military Parades ("Jesus, was that Chaplin Anderson dancing naked and baby-oiled on a float?") free makeovers with your buzz cut? What the hell do you want?


Posted // November 17,2010 at 15:29

Reckon I was a bit snarky. As snarky as off-topic that day. That whole "good party bad party" thing drives me nuts.

I can't really speak much to DADT as far as how repealing it would or would not affect the gay community. I can say that I agree with Troy's position on the matter.

What I do know is that it is damaging to gays and lesbians that serve in the military as well as to their lovers and families in that they are all forced to hide and pretend.

That can't be good when, as a gay enlistee, you see "straights" with their wives and husbands at public military gatherings, etc, and you are forced to pretend you are something you are not. If that were me, I'd feel very bitter that I put my life on the line for a country and populace that will not accept me as a human being with the very same desires and needs as everybody else.

The thing is, if the law was repealed and gays and lesbians were able to be themselves, I see rampant homophobia within the ranks. What can we do to protect gays and lesbians that are shunned, bullied, or tortured at the hands of their cohorts?

I see more rapes occurring than we have now, with lesbians being targeted specifically. The amount of in-company rape female enlistee's experience now is absolutely disgusting to me. I see gay men being beaten, shunned, bullied or even raped by macho enlistees with a chip on their shoulder. I see behavior like this being ignored by officers and higher-ups, just as it is now. I see this behavior exacerbated by war-time deployment.

So, while I think that it would be wonderful for gays and lesbians to serve openly and be themselves, I don't see that working out very well at this point in time. As a species, we aren't that enlightened. I wish we were.

But maybe I'm just too cynical. Maybe everything would work out just fine?