Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ask, Tell

The repeal of "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" is today! This means that gay/lesbian members of the military can now legally serve their country as a soldier or sailor, airman, guard, or marine. This is a big damn deal.

Almost 20 years ago, DADT was supposed to help service members because it removed the question of sexuality from the intake forms. Despite the fact that recruiters heavily encourage new recruits to lie on the intake forms for various reasons (primarily because (a) they know how bureaucracies work and (b) they need their numbers) a service member can be dishonorably discharged if those lies are brought to light. So DADT meant that new recruits didn't have to lie outright on a signed statement that could be used against them. Progress, right?

Well... kinda. Because people still got kicked out of the US armed services for being gay - and still got dishonorable discharges for being gay rather than something more dignified that allowed their service records to speak for them. It also meant that they didn't get the pension or other similar benefits provided for years of service to others. The witch hunt was still going on, and going on strong.

It's my hope today that the military brass will realize that this big damn deal for society and justice really isn't a big deal for them. Their soldiers will keep fighting and marching and wearing crisp uniforms with short hair. Where it causes dissention in the ranks, the ranks will get over it. Here's hoping the witch hunt stops, today. We all know that people can be discriminated against in subtle ways, and no doubt that will still happen. But here's hoping that not only will it happen less, but without the legal threats hanging over the gay service members, they will have more legal recourse, more allies, and a fighting chance to ride through the drama and focus on business.

Congratulations to all the gay and lesbian service members who can now serve openly. To all their friends and colleagues, please remember to stand proudly with them. We're all on the same side, it turns out.

[For celebratory reading, Suz Brockmann has a short Navy SEAL love story, available by Ebook, "When Tony met Adam" available for your favorite ereader.]

No comments: