Thursday, October 21, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell?? - Don't Bother.

"We would have to create separate accommodations and it would cost money!"

"They'll be distracting because of their sexuality."

"Soldiers might be moved to protect a lover over obeying orders from a commanding officer."

"Superior officers might misuse their rank to sexually abuse those of lower rank."

"Other armies won't take us seriously."

Amazingly enough, these aren't arguments against gay people in the military. These are the arguments that were used to say that women couldn't serve in the military.

Women would distract their male counterparts with their dangerous girl-bits. They would require their own showers and toilets, and that would cost a fortune. They would be vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse from superior officers.

We as a society recognized that this thinking was discriminatory and wrong. We recognized that for some military tasks, women are better suited than men, and that women were just as physically capable of serving and dying for their country as men.

Women entered the military, and you know what? We created separate accommodations where necessary, and it didn't cost that much. Women turned out to be exceptionally good at certain tasks, in places distinctly better than their male counterparts, because women are built with better fine dexterity and motor control skills, substantially higher pain tolerances, and their ability to multitask often finds them in key analytical positions collating information from multiple sources.
Soldiers turned out to be capable of working with girls without raping them, and the fraternity of brotherhood has managed to accommodate several sisters without fracturing into disarray.

We're hearing these arguments again, this time aimed at homosexuals. They're not any more valid, or any more correct now than they were then. Soldiers are trained to be strong, independent, capable, and coherent. Implying that they will allow themselves to be raped without fighting back, or lacking integrity and awareness of their fellow soldiers and their responsibilities as soldiers is insulting to our soldiers, and those commanding officers whose job it is to train and care for them.

We have policies in place in case female and male soldiers fall in love, to deal with those issues. What's wrong with those same rules being applied to gay or lesbian soldiers? You can't serve in the same location, or in the same chain of command. If a soldier is raped, it doesn't matter if they're male or female. And allowing gay soldiers to come out means they are no longer subject to blackmail, abuse, or rape they can't report because that might bring up their sexuality in the inquest.

It means giving all our soldiers the same respect, and same protection. If a gay man takes a bullet protecting my little brother, then I will be grateful and glad for his being in the air force next to him, and I will fight to make sure that he is given all the rights that he's fighting to protect.

Discrimination is discrimination, and it's still wrong.

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