The Difficulties of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT) is taking a serious beating this week. First, federal court judge Virginia Phillips determined that DADT was Unconstitutional. Then she issued a moratorium on enforcement of the policy. Then the Obama administration challenged the ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – and the justices issued a stay of the moratorium, so I guess now DADT is enforceable again. I’ve been reading around some of the comments and there are two common running themes among those who believe that DADT should remain in effect.

First are those who have served and don’t have a religious undertone. After one commenter remarked that DADT should be stricken down, one former soldier replied, “this coming from someone who has never served nor understands the culture or code of the UCMJ.”

To those who fit that profile, I would say this: culture isn’t always right. I wonder what the culture was during WWII, when our country was still segregated and black soldiers were segregated from white soldiers as they were in civilian life. An awful lot of white folks actually believed that they were still superior to black folks – that was, at the time, the culture. What is the culture you’re talking about? Is it one that bans fraternization in the UCMJ, yet ignores it when it does happen? Is it one that forbids sexual assault in the UCMJ, yet gives little more than a slap on the wrist when a soldier is caught doing exactly that? Is it a culture that dislikes open homosexuals because you’re afraid we’re all nymphomaniacs who want to screw everything that walks?

If the latter is the case, then you’re wrong, and your opinion and attitude are based on pure ignorance. Most lesbians – myself included – aren’t interested in straight women. I have cute little crushes on a couple of celebrities, but last I checked Kate Beckinsale isn’t a US soldier and doesn’t plan to become one. Even still, if she walked into the room I wouldn’t be staring at her boobs and dreaming of motorboating. Why? She’s straight. There’s something about women who have slept with men that is more unappealing to me than the idea of shagging a relative. The fact that you straight men are always imagining women stripping down and sitting on your faces does not mean that lesbians do. I can’t speak for gay men, but those I know feel the exact same way. We are no more sexual than straight people are and we’re not out to have sex with everyone on two legs. Do us all a favor and dispell that from your culture.

The second running theme is entirely religious. One commenter wrote, “it is a taught perversion, not a born one. This is why the aggressive homosexual community is pursuing the school systems to try to indoctrinate the next generation of children. For the short term, it will work for a while, however, most know the difference of right from wrong, and it will backfire. You can see this happening now. As most people grow older, they will find the Lord and repent their sins and try to lead a sinless lifestyle. When they do, they will find peace in their lives. We have to pray for those in the homosexual community to find the Lord and repent their sinful lifestyle, and walk with Jesus. Only this way, will they truly inherit Heaven and find peace. If you love your fellow man, you will do the same.”

Okay…I am conservative politically. I am a lesbian. I am also a believing Christian. I do not find my faith at odds with my sexual orientation. If it were a choice, as you say it is, I would absolutely choose to be straight. Do you have any idea how much easier my life would be? If it were a choice, I wouldn’t have had crushes on other girls in class when I was in second grade! Do you really think it was a choice back then? I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that if I told the girls I liked that I thought they were pretty, I’d be severely beaten (and, in fact, I was on several occasions). As an adult, I don’t sleep around. I won’t sleep with someone on the first or even the second date. I have a relative, though, who is as straight as straight can be, and she has done sick and twisted things in bed that I never wanted to know – she’s also lost count of the number of men she’s slept with. Tell me, whose “lifestyle” is really sinful?

Next up? Your Christian-ese. It is lost on most people. Non-believers, such as my roommate, don’t understand “finding the Lord”, “repentance”, and “inheriting Heaven”. You are speaking a different language to them, one that turns them completely off to our faith. The best way to help people understand Christianity is to live your life so that others want whatever is giving you peace. My gay and lesbian friends are far more interested in my faith BECAUSE I don’t say those things.

Your accusation that all gay people are infiltrating the schools to indoctrinate and recruit kids? Bullshit. Pardon my Japanese, but it’s pure bullshit. I will agree that there are gays and lesbians who are entirely inappropriate in teaching positions. The kindergarten teacher who made her class sign GLSEN pledge cards irritated me beyond belief. The high school teacher who took her class to her lesbian wedding without parental consent also irritated me. Recruitment, though? Please! If you are that paranoid about it, then take your kids out of public school. Nobody is trying to recruit any kids to choose the homosexual lifestyle. All we want is for kids who are attracted to the same sex to feel safe enough that they’re not going to have to survive what I did.

Finally, I will quote the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Read all of that one more time. Do you understand it? That means that if your entire hang-up about homosexuals like me is based entirely on your religious belief, then according to the Constitution – that document I would give my last breath to defend – you cannot pass nor enforce laws written from that perspective. You are entitled to your belief, but I am also entitled to mine. Neither you nor I are allowed to enact any law that forces other people to live according to our faith. I have always, always, ALWAYS been against hate speech laws because it would infringe on your rights to believe that my lifestyle is wrong. I have ALWAYS insisted that gay marriage should NEVER include a requirement that all churches submit to marrying gay couples. I expect you to pay the same level of respect.

I don’t want to make a political statement by serving; I just want to serve. Why is that so difficult? I will tell those of you who fit those two categories the exact same thing I tell my liberal gay friends: grow up. It’s not all about you and what you want. Challenge yourselves and you might just learn something.

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4 thoughts on “The Difficulties of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

  1. Well said. You are 100% correct. Based on a lot of what you’ve said, I just can’t understand how you consider yourself to be part of the Conservative movement. I struggle with this, too. I’m gay, love my guns, despise unions, want people to learn English if they live here, etc. etc. But I cannot bring myself to support GOP and Conservatives because they continue to fight against equal rights for GLBT people. For example, I live in NY. I think Carl Paladino has some great ideas, but I cannot in good conscience vote for him after the terrible things he said about homosexuals. I agree with most conservative principles, but how can I support them knowing that they are trying so hard to keep GLBT people second class citizens in our society?

  2. That’s exactly it…not all conservatives believe that way. It just happens to be the dumber ones.

    Actually, if you look at conservatives vs. liberals, conservatives have done more to further the cause of gay rights and equality than liberals ever have. It doesn’t matter what a handful of conservatives have said. Ronald Reagan was the first to try to appoint an openly gay man to the federal bench. When Democrats shot the nomination down, Bush Sr. finally succeeded in appointing him. That judge, Vaughn Walker, struck Proposition 8 down in California this year.

    When Clinton was voted into office, he vowed to end the military’s ban on homosexuals in the service. He lied. We ended up with DADT. Later, after supporting DADT, Democrat Robert Byrd gave an impassioned faith-drenched speech in a push to give us DOMA: “the drive for same-sex marriage is, in effect, an effort to make a sneak attack on society by encoding this aberrant behavior in legal form before society itself has decided it should be legal…let us defend the oldest institution, the institution of marriage between male and female as set forth in the Holy Bible.” This guy was a liberal, too.

  3. You are correct about Clinton. I cannot and will not ever defend him to anyone. I believe he did a good job controlling spending while he was in office, but he is responsible for the two most anti-gay pieces of legislation ever passed in our country. I have brought this up when people ask me how I reconcile being both gay and conservative. The worst piece of legislation ever, in my opinion, is the Defense of Marriage Act. What a sarcastic name. Bill Clinton of all people has no business talking about the sanctity of marriage. All DADT managed to accomplish was to officially make it legal to kick gays out of the military or force them to live a lie. I heard many of the heartbreaking stories about gay soldiers coming home from duty and not being able to hug and kiss their partners, yet their heterosexual counterparts leaped into the arms of their spouses and lovers. It makes me sick to think about.

  4. “But I cannot bring myself to support GOP and Conservatives because they continue to fight against equal rights for GLBT people.”

    It is better to have brutual honesty than to be lied to over and over. The Republican party has never lied to me. The Democrats however lie every chance they get. I can’t work with liars. Liars never change. Ignorant people can become educated people and change.

    If every gay conservative abandons the GOP then the GOP will never change. Supporting the Democrats is nothing more than engaging one disappointment after another.

    Also, don’t even get me started on hypocrisy. Obama was against redefining the defintion of marriage but he sure wanted Californians to vote No on Measure 8. Excuse me?

    I think in due time sex scandals like the ones involving Mark Foley and Sen. Craig not only give the GOP a black eye. They also cost the GOP good representatives. Being more engaging of gay folks is good for business. It keeps quality people in office.

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