Ace, let’s have a chat about DADT

by CynthiaYockey on November 14, 2010

Over at Ace of Spades HQ, from time-to-time recently Ace has been pondering issues of gay equality, such as gay marriage and DADT (“don’t ask, don’t tell”). While he doesn’t see gay and lesbian people as truly human — with unalienable rights and all and the freedom from being forced by government to follow religious beliefs that are not their own — he usually wrestles with the issues in a reasonable way that is rare in Right Blogosphere.

To summarize DADT news this week, on Thursday the Washington Post published a story that its reporters had interviewed two sources who had read the Pentagon report on whether repealing DADT would impair the military’s ability to fulfill its mission that was due to be released on Dec. 1. Short version: no, it won’t. WaPo also published reactions from the usual suspects, including this one from Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United:

“These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along. The men and women of America’s armed forces are professionals who are capable of handling this policy change. In light of these findings, as well as the Secretary of Defense’s recent call for Senate action on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during the lame duck session, there is no longer any excuse for failing to bring the defense authorization bill back up during the first week of the post-election legislative session.”

For perspective, bear in mind that convicted rapists, felons, illegal aliens and Muslims, who are commanded to kill or subjugate all non-Muslims, all are allowed to serve in the U.S. military.

On Friday the Supreme Court rejected a request by the Log Cabin Republicans, the right-wing gay group that is challenging DADT in court, to halt enforcement of DADT while appeals of a district court decision in favor of the Log Cabin Republicans (and against DADT) proceed. As Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air, this is not so bad because it will prevent the destruction of the careers of service members who “told” under the protection of the district court decision if it is reversed by the Supreme Court.

So after reading Ed’s post at Hot Air, Ace wrote a DADT post that concludes as follows:

And I don’t think critics of the policy are giving sufficient thought to what may happen in many of the people inclined to military service decide it no longer represents their values.

Critics may say “But that puts the government behind a policy of discrimination!” Possibly, yeah; there is a strong argument that that’s the case. And maybe the end of DADT will turn out to be a big nothingburger (as the desegregation of the military was, mostly, despite similar concerns being voiced at the time).

Still. The guys who make up the club should have most of the say about the rules of the club. I really doubt that many of the policy’s critics are willing to sign up to make up for drops in recruitment, should that come to pass.

Ace then published in a separate post selected comments by current and former servicemembers opposed to the repeal of DADT. I’m writing this post mostly because of the degree of disconnect between what gays seek by the repeal of DADT and the right to serve openly and what Ace’s commenters think gays are seeking.

But first let me tell Ace how the repeal of DADT really will turn out to be a big “nothingburger”: when gay and lesbian service members can serve openly, and get to know their colleagues as whole people just the way straight people do while following all the same rules of conduct, then everyone else will learn their fears were baseless. It’s not going to take very long.

In fact, I suspect the real reasons that anti-gay groups have worked so hard to demonize gays and create great horrors in straight people’s minds about repealing DADT is that serving in the military is noble and bolsters the claim of gays to equality. Also, it will greatly increase the number of straight people who get to know and respect someone who is openly gay or lesbian, which will make us that much harder to demonize in the future.

For Ace’s commenters, let me say that the reason that lesbians and gays want to serve openly in the military is a simple one: they just want to be honest about their lives in the same way that straight people are allowed to be and they are willing to obey the same rules of conduct. The right to be honest about your life means that you can connect to others and create rapport by talking about going on a date, or being able to introduce your friends to your life partner. If you don’t think that having to hide every word and detail of your life that could reveal your sexual orientation — that being forced to disguise, suppress, hide and lie about who you are — is not a heavy and damaging burden, then you try it for a month.

Ace also fretted that if gays can serve openly, then enlistments might fall because enlistees don’t mind being told to pound sand if they object to serving with rapists, felons, illegal immigrants and Muslims required to kill/subjugate ALL unbelievers, but the mere knowledge they could be required to serve in the presence of a gay person would utterly unhinge them and cause them to flee from the recruiter’s office.

Well, my observation is that gays and lesbians are an unusually altruistic lot and I believe that the percentage of gays and lesbians who enlist is going to be significantly higher than our supposed proportion of the U.S. population. Another factor is the number of gay and lesbian teens who face homelessness if their parents discover they are gay — repeal of DADT would give them the option to enlist: military service is one of the few jobs now open to 18-year-olds that offers them enough money to live on, great benefits and career training. In fact, come to think of it, since gays and lesbians still face a great deal of workplace discrimination in the civilian marketplace, when the military services stop discriminating they are going to become one of the most attractive employers in the marketplace for gays and lesbians young enough to serve.

As for whether gays and lesbians are patriotic enough to want to serve in the military — yes, yes, we are. One of the most poignant aspects I witnessed at last year’s march on Washington for gay equality was that almost every speaker spoke with great love of America mixed with hurt and bewilderment at “unalienable rights” and “liberty and justice for all” somehow not applying to us. Arabic translator Lt. Dan Choi, who spoke at the march, was recently discharged due to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and explains here why he enlisted and why he told (I don’t remember if he mentions it in this interview, but one reason he told is he’s a preacher’s kid and was raised to be honest):

P.S.

I also learned at the Oct. 2009 march for gay equality that Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote “America the Beautiful,” was a lesbian.

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  • http://colorfulconservative.blogspot.com Coco Rico

    Hi Cynthia,

    I do not want to be rude. But you are wrong. I am queer and am just getting out of the Army. You are trying to use military people to make gays and lesbians feel better about themselves in the civilian world. It’s selfish and narcissistic. Gays in the military are exposed to serious bodily harm when their identity is discovered, especially when they are enlisted and in high-stress circumstances. They need DADT as an option to leave — which is in fact how the chapter is overwhelmingly used (voluntarily). Read between the lines. When generals say that it looks like people can handle repealing DADT, they really mean that they don’t want to give gays the chance to get out if they are getting raped or otherwise threatened. This is too much of a burden to ask of gays who are in the service to sacrifice, for the sake of politicized gays and lesbian civilians who have no intention of even undergoing that stress. Please stop using this issue as a rallying point for gay and lesbian civilians. It’s infuriating.

    Best wishes,
    Coco

    • CynthiaYockey

      Coco Rico,

      Yippee!!! I must be on the right track because little troll, here you are. I’ve got to hand it to you, while Ace’s commenters had a breathtaking disconnect with the real motives of gays to serve openly, you have opened up an entirely new realm of troll lies and crazy. I have been out since 1972 and you know what? I have never once heard or read about gays in the military rejoicing that DADT is their ticket out when their colleagues try to kill them for being gay. Instead, what I always hear is that gays serving in the military want to serve openly and NOT GET KILLED FOR BEING GAY BY THEIR COLLEAGUES. I notice that you seem to be fine with the military services not prosecuting assaults on gay and lesbian soldiers for being gay.

      Cynthia

      P.S.

      Here are the troll giveaway lines — they match the lies that anti-gay social conservative organizations are trying to sell (boldfacing mine):

      1. You are an evil manipulator for wanting gays to serve openly: “You are trying to use military people to make gays and lesbians feel better about themselves in the civilian world.”
      2. Gays LOVE having their careers destroyed so much they do it themselves!: “They need DADT as an option to leave — which is in fact how the chapter is overwhelmingly used (voluntarily).”
      3. It’s a trap! Who are you going to trust? Me? Or your lying eyes?: “When generals say that it looks like people can handle repealing DADT, they really mean that they don’t want to give gays the chance to get out if they are getting raped or otherwise threatened.”
      4. Gays in the military know they may only fight for equality and liberty for straight people, never their own or that of their gay loved ones: “This is too much of a burden to ask of gays who are in the service to sacrifice, for the sake of politicized gays and lesbian civilians who have no intention of even undergoing that stress.”
      5. Please shut up because you make so much sense that DADT will be repealed: “Please stop using this issue as a rallying point for gay and lesbian civilians. It’s infuriating.”

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  • SDN

    For perspective, bear in mind that convicted rapists, felons, illegal aliens and Muslims, who are commanded to kill or subjugate all non-Muslims, all are allowed to serve in the U.S. military.

    Cynthia, whatever your other arguments, this one is a non-starter. The answer is that none of those groups should be serving, either.

    • CynthiaYockey

      SDN,

      Either? No, gays should be allowed to serve and to serve openly, obeying the same conduct rules as straights.

      The other groups should not be allowed to serve because of their deeds — but the military and civilian leadership FORCE our service members to serve with them. They have no say in the matter. If they are being FORCED to serve with people who are highly likely to harm them, there’s no reason the military services can’t tell straight people to mind their own business and serve with gays who are also minding their own business.

      Cynthia

  • Anonymous

    Poor word choice there; my simple point is / was that “Well, we’ve done so many other bad things, what’s one more?” argument isn’t a good one.

    I agree about the “minding your own business”; the problems (and there have been some) with introducing heterosexual desire into the military matrix make me reluctant to introduce any other varieties.

  • Shawn

    Hi Cynthia,

    I am not gay, but have served in the Armed Services. I have some questions that a straight person would probably not be as qualified to answer concerning these subjects.

    Why does the Military segregate its personnel by gender? Men and Women of whatever orientation (at least in the Marine Corps, which is what I would feel most qualified to espouse on) are relegated to different barracks buildings once in the fleet and different whole facilities while in recruit training.

    If the reason for this segregation is the attraction and sexual tension that would be untenable in a coedcommunal shower or living arrangement, why would this criterion not be considered for homosexuals?

    In the real world I can easily see how a female or male Marine would not want to have to live with, shower, or have their most unguarded and intimate moments occuring in front of somebody that may take some visceral pleasure from viewing such conduct. I am not going to take this to some leering pervy degree, but I think that would have a serious effect on morale and therefore readiness and effectiveness.

    How would this be different with homosexuals having free access to the areas in which the objects of their attractions have these unguarded moments? If it would be unacceptable for a man to be in the women’s locker room, why would it be acceptable for a homosexual women to be in there? I think we need to definetively answer the question as to why the genders areseperated in the first place, that would seem to be the only reasonable course.

    This line of reasoning only leads me to the inevitable conclusion that to integrate homosexuals completely and correctly you would have to double the facilities available to have 4 distinct classifications: male, homosexual male, female, and homosexual female. Unfortunately I do not think that is a viable option.

    What are we left with then? The status quo is becoming an increasingly contentious issue with those who serve as well as those who have never put on the uniform. If we are not going to provide the facilities to accomodate all, what are we left with? Homosexuals seem to feel that the status quo is discriminating against their valid wants and desires, but to integrate without the ofrementioned facilites would be to discrimate against the equally valid wants and desires of non-homosexuals.

    I guess my question then becomes one of “Are homosexuals fighting for the same rights and facillities afforded to non-homosexuals, or are they currently fighting to push the discrimination they feel they suffer on to those they feel are the perpetrators in the false claim of equality?”

    I unfortunately have had debates with some who would argue that it is only fair for the straights to have to endure what the gays have dealt with, but I think that is a self defeating argument that only serves to show that equality is not the real objective.

    These are real issues that affect real people and thus not to be taken lightly in any direction. I guess I am left feeling that when an integral part of the Military life entails the willing sacrifice of everything up to and including your life, you have a right to exist in a framework that provides the best possible readiness to address deadly consequences. Issues that affect readiness and morale have real world consequences in the currency of human lives.

    If we are a volunteer force that by definition does not coerce service from the citizenry and there is no inherent right to serve in the Military, how can we detrimentally effect the ability of our Armed Services to put their lives on the line protecting us in the name of shifting discrimintation from one group to another?

    It seems that the fight should really be for equality among the 4 groups. To treat a homosexual man or women the same as straight man or women is unrealistic. I would think it would be similar to the tradtitional gender questions, but it would also be unrealistic to pretend that a man and a women are the same as well. Not sure where this leaves us, but I think the “interested parties” that are pushing these issues are not being honest with us and probably not even with themselves.

    • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey

      Shawn,

      To treat homosexual men and women the same as straight men and women is called equality.

      This is one of the fears that will prove to be unfounded once gays and lesbians can serve openly. Straights and gays will get to know each other. It’s just not going to be a problem. Lesbians and gays will be minding their own business in the showers and living quarters.

      The concern seems to spring from the following:

      1. Y’all are looking at too much porn.
      2. Grasping at straws to deny gays equality: it’s just too much hassle and too expensive for gays to be equal. No, it isn’t, because the elaborate separations are not needed.
      3. The self-esteem of straight people is unbounded. Guess what? You are NOT all that, straight people. We REALLY are just NOT that into you. Even if you’re hot, you’re straight, so the attraction is not mutual, so … you-wise: YUCK!

      Cynthia

      • Ben

        You didn’t even come close to answering the question, lesbian “conservative”. You dodged every point he made.

        “Lesbians and gays will be minding their own business in the showers and living quarters.”

        If I promise to mind my own business, can I shower with the women? Cause I’d really like that. The reason why we segregate by gender is because people cannot simply turn off their attractions like a light switch. Homosexuals can “mind their business” all they want. They’re still going to be showering/bunking with people they are attracted to. Can you possibly understand why a straight woman wouldn’t want to shower with a lesbian? If you can’t think of a single reason, I’ll help you–for the same reason she wouldn’t want to shower with a man.

        I also find it more than a little arrogant that you claim that all homosexuals will be minding their own business. Really? Did you call all of them? I can’t speak for every straight person the same way you claim to speak for all sodomites. I can’t say that if we mixed showers that all straight men would mind their own business. That’s a lot of straight men to speak for.

        “Guess what? You are NOT all that, straight people. We REALLY are just NOT that into you. ”

        This is the old “Don’t flatter yourself argument”. First, you insult the person who doesn’t want to shower with homosexuals by telling them that they are not attractive. I wonder how well this would work if a woman said she didn’t want to shower with men. We would respect that woman’s feelings, or would we tell her to shut up because she’s so ugly that no one would ever find her attractive in the first place? Get a new argument. This one is a serious loser.

        “Even if you’re hot, you’re straight, so the attraction is not mutual, so … you-wise: YUCK!”

        So you’ve never been attracted to a straight person? Huh. That’s interesting. And because the attraction isn’t mutual…that means that there’s no attraction? Sweet! So again, let’s say I go off and join the military. I want to shower with the women. Even if some of them are hot, it’s all cool so long as they aren’t attracted to me. Because, as you mentioned, as soon as I sense that the attratcion is not mutual, then the attraction within me fizzles out.

        “To treat homosexual men and women the same as straight men and women is called equality.”

        Men and women are different. Treating different things differently is not discrimination.

        BEN

        • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey

          Ben,

          In the military and in civilian life, lesbians and gays already are in the locker rooms, showers, dormitories, without any exceptional problems. It’s really grasping at straws to raise this objection.

          Equality means having the same rights of living honestly and openly. Straight people can mention dating or being in a committed relationship and not lose their military careers. Gays should have the same rights. Gays and lesbians in the military are entirely ready to observe the same rules as straights regarding relationships.

          Your parallel to the separation of the sexes is just not applicable here. That’s not dodging your points. It really does not apply.

          When I point out that gays are not attracted to straights, I’m not saying we find you repulsive or ugly. I’m talking about sexual attraction in the sense of mutual sexual chemistry. Maybe gay teens still get crushes on straight friends, but since the love and sexual attraction are not reciprocated, pretty much everyone who is gay grows out of that really fast and makes an effort only to make advances to prospective partners who would welcome them.

          Also, stop translating lesbians into the equivalent of straight men and gay men into the equivalent of women. We aren’t.

          Cynthia

  • Christxus

    I enjoyed reading your blog when you first began writing. That enjoyment has gradually dissipated the more I have read. You really have no respect for anyone’s opinion if it doesn’t agree with your own. If someone dares to espouse an opinion that is contrary to your know-it-all lesbian beliefs, rather than seriously consider what is being said, you inform them of exactly why they are wrong, or you just condescend to them. You are ever determined to force your opinion down another’s throat, as being the only and right opinion.

    It’s a shame really, because you had much potential to educate, and instead chose to patronize. There is much of the liberal left in you, for all that you call yourself a conservative…”my way, or the highway”. I could care less what your response to this will be, as I will no longer be reading here, so have fun telling me why I am wrong, and you are right, etc. It will just be the usual of what you do, after all.

    • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey

      Christxus,

      The blog giveth and the blog taketh away.

      Cynthia

  • http://aconservativelesbian.com Cynthia Yockey

    Shawn,

    Equality means having identical rights and responsibilities.

    Unisex locker rooms, showers, etc., are not an applicable analogy. For one thing, gays and lesbians already are using the locker rooms, etc., and minding their own business. It really is not going to be like porn movies where a glance sets off an orgy. Plus, seriously, gays are not into straight people because there’s no reciprocal attaction.

    I am getting concerned, though, over the degree to which you are concerned about private feelings — whether someone is lusting in their heart — and how much you believe the world should be re-built to accommodate this sensitivity and your willingness for the lives of others to be diminished or ruined. If someone lusts in their heart but minds their own business, then it’s really none of yours. It may be that people have to learn some new etiquette, but that does not take long.

    Cynthia

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