Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gays Serving Openly In The Military

Okay, so gays (and I suppose lesbians & bisexuals) will soon be able to serve openly in the military. I do not have much of a problem with that. In fact, I do not have a problem with it. I do not think that the gay lifestyle (yes that is what I mostly believe being gay to be - a lifestyle though I will admit some may be predisposed genetically or bio-chemically) is something that is normal or acceptable although I do tolerate gay people. Let's face it they are part of society and are not going away any time soon, probably will never go away altogether.

This all brings some things to mind. One of which goes as follows. If gays will be allowed to serve openly in the military, that means they will be able to announce their gayness and serve without thought of being tossed out or harassed because they are gay - right? Now riddle me this: If they can serve openly, will that also give them free reign to try to announce their gayness to everyone they meet in the army - if they so choose. I do see a problem with that, a big one. It is called sexual harassment. You see, if I am at my current job and someone comes over to me and says: "Hey Glenn, I am gay", well I would most likely tell that person I don't care to hear talk about his sexual preferences and would likely tell him not to mention it to me or express that to me again in any way shape or form. In other words, besides not telling me about his preference I would want to assure he does not express it to me in writing, by manner of dress (such as wearing a shirt with Gay & proud on it or by wearing rainbow patches), by manner of actions (such as sashaying in front of me, making sexual expressions, looking at me in the men's locker room and I do mean suggestively or by staring at my privates and so on).

If any of the above would happen to me at my job and then be repeated after I informed any person, regardless of sexual orientation, not to do so - it should be considered sexual harassment. That person should then be subject to administrative, civil and possibly criminal action. The thing is, that seems to happen only when a straight (as in heterosexual) male is accused of harassing straight or lesbian female coworkers or male gay coworkers. Sexual harassment laws, in the work place, rarely seem to protect heterosexual males from the very abuses from which they are supposed to protect all workers.

Now I see a big problem with this if it happens likewise in the military. I see it resulting not only in lower moral among heterosexual males and females who may be harassed by gays or lesbians (yes it apparently does happen and fairly frequently once gays are out of the closet or maybe I should say out of the footlocker for this case) but also see it as resulting is some other bad things. First and foremost, I believe that morale will be lowered. Then if harassment occurs and is allowed to go unabated, when from gay to hetero, but gets slammed when the other way around - well I think our soldiers, marines and sailors may take offense and think of their own ways to stop the harassment. Beatings come to mind. I do not endorse them, I am just guessing they will happen. Why? Because our young men and women in the military beat each other for other lessor offense of their military, personal and moral codes. Then what will happen. Will the gays be allowed to go on harassing while the straights are criminalized for their actions?

Note, I am questioning. I am not saying it will happen. I tend to think it will happen to some extent but only am guessing it may happen. Of course there is a way to prevent some of this. Separate showers for all groups. Straight men's showers, gay men's showers, straight women's showers and lesbian women's showers, let alone the bisexuals for now. I guess the same would have to go for toilets. Then don't forget about sleeping quarters - wouldn't they have to be separate too? Of course I almost forgot locker rooms. That is all at military bases at home - what about tent accommodations overseas! This would be expensive, wouldn't it? Maybe a less expensive way would be to have one group of showers, living quarters and toilets for all - to be shared by all. So men and women, regardless of sexual preference/orientation would share all the facilities with no distinctions as to gender. Do you think there would be a bit of sexual tension in such situations? If you do, even for a moment, think so, then why maybe did you not think likewise if gays would be allowed to shower with straights in male only showers - etc.? Yeah, I know - you may have seen the possibility for that tension in both scenarios but it seems some people are so overwhelmed by the push for gays serving openly in the military they did not even consider for a moment the sexual tension such could create. Note I did not say allowing gays in the military would cause the tension, I said letting them be open about it, and I think then them going overboard, may create the tension.

Now I wonder, if gays join the military why is there any reason to tell anyone they are gay when they join? I do not see one. I don't see any reason to have an obligation to tell anyone at any time. Yet, I do see the reasons why it may come up in conversation. A female soldier may hit up on a gay guy. She may continue to do as he ignores her advances. Finally after several attempts by the female soldier, the male gay soldier may tell her: "It's not that I don't like you as a person, but I am gay and don't date women. Please don't take it personally." In the day before yesterday's military services (as I write this), that person would be expelled from military service in the USA. I see that as an outrage even though I do not accept the gay lifestyle (or predisposition to it - and if it is genetic predisposition I see it as an aberration of normality but that is just my view, feel free to have your own opinion). Yet, regardless of how I feel about gayness (and note I am blanketing lesbianism into this) I would certainly not expel a gay person from the military for something like that.

On the other hand, if the guy is what is commonly referred to as a flamer - that could be a very different story. There are a good number of gays out there who seemingly cannot stop themselves from telegraphing shouting out on the hilltops - I am here, I am queer, and I want to hold the same sex near" (maybe even adding "...and there is nothing you can do about it dear"). Do you doubt that? If you doubt it then watch the next Halloween Parade in New York City or San Francisco or watch a Gay Pride Parade anywhere one is held. When is the last time you saw a Heterosexual Pride Parade? I did not think you had seen one, was I right. There are large numbers of gays who almost continually have to act exceedingly gay and constantly let the world know they are gay. There is no room in the military service for people who act like that just as there is no room in the military service for gays who might harass heterosexuals.

Some are almost certainly thinking, wow this guy Ballseye sure is a homophobic guy. That is not true at all. I do not fear homosexuals. I have had some friends who are homosexual and have worked with several coworkers who are likewise. Not fearing them though does not mean I have to start liking or accepting homosexuality or become a homosexual. I tolerate homosexuality as a fact of life but note tolerating it does not mean I have to accept it. I can be Christian and tolerate Jews and the Jewish faith while not accepting the faith as my own and believing it to be the true faith. I can be an agnostic or atheist and be tolerant of religious people and their beliefs but yet not have to accept any faith. I can tolerate Bruce Springsteen or Jane Fonda as having a right to sing or say their piece while never accepting either of their political views. Well, maybe Jane Fonda was a bad example - I think she should have been imprisoned at the very least for her actions in Vietnam but would have tolerated her right to exist after her 25 year prison term had ended (I believe that is the least she should have gotten had she been prosecuted). I tolerate rudeness and ill manners from others everyday of my life to some extent (well not yesterday but that is another story) but I do not find either as an acceptable way to treat others. I can be absolutely intolerant and unaccepting of criminal lifestyles yet still tolerate convicts once they have served their time and have gone back on the straight and narrow. Yet, I have never been called a Springsteinphobic, never a Fondaphobic, nor a Rudenessphobic, nor a Jewishphobic or a Religiousphobic. Why not - because I am not but mostly because those other people are not so insecure in their whateverness as to have to call anyone who does not like them phobic! Yet, despite not being fearful of them, I do not agree with or accept everything someone else tries to shove down my throat (no pun intended) so why am I suddenly homophobic if I do not agree with or accept homosexuality! Just because you are gay does not mean I have to accept you, like you, be happy to work with you, or want to have sex with you - nor does any of that mean I am afraid of you. What it does mean is that while I may tolerate you because you are human, I do not accept your lifestyle or sexual orientation. Get over it by not continually putting your gayness in any one's face and make damned sure you do likewise in the military. Otherwise, in my opinion, you do not belong there, nor in any job where your actions would certainly constitute sexual harassment (well they would if you were straight and kept shouting it off of the the hilltops to everyone).

The above type of gay person, the one who has to incessantly express his or her homosexuality, while not the exception, is less in number than your run of the mill gay person. Most gays do not go around screaming off of the hilltops (or in the showers) that they are gay and then expecting everyone to treat them as if that is normal behavior. While it may never happen that anyone who is gay will cause any sort of tension in the military by repeatedly announcing to the troops that he or she is gay, I would give you 100 to 1 odds - me betting that it will happen. I would also give you 50 to 1 odds, me betting that someone just innocently announcing he or she is homosexual, in the military, will also cause sexual tension. That tension might not seem like much here at home but imagine how such underlying tension might effect a soldier's ability to fight with another soldier in combat conditions. I am not saying that a gay or straight soldier will not protect the other or work as a team but the underlying tension might make either one tense enough to screw something up and cause inadvertent injuries or loss of life. Can such tension be prevented. Not 100% but it certainly can be minimized. Of course, there are almost certainly both homophobes and heterophobes in the military and the tension for them will be even worse.

As I said though, there is no place in the military for outrageous sexual announcements or actions and that goes not only for homosexuals but also for heterosexuals as I see it. In fact I see it as absolutely having to go for both groups equally and that means that even though gays will be allowed to serve openly and proudly in the U.S. Military, there is no way they should be given special preferences or treatment such as their possible harassing behavior being ignored when harassing treatment by heteros would be slammed. My bet though is that some gays will now expect special treatment. I think we will see, that way too many times, when one is punished or thrown out of the military that person will use his or her homosexuality as a shield and try to say that homosexuality and homophobia were the only reasons they were the recipients of punitive measures.

Maybe I am wrong in my guess as to what will come about but time will certainly tell, that is if you are not too truthphobic to accept facts as facts when they are reported. However things turn out, it will be interesting to see it all unfold but I hope none of it results, directly or indirectly, in injury or death to even one of our troops whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. Gays have always been in our military service and have served their nation with honor and distinction. While I think homosexuality to be wrong, and many others do too, I see no reason for that to change how well homosexuals can serve their country now just because they will be allowed to do so openly - that is if things are done fairly for all involved. Homosexuals and heterosexuals will need to remember something now more than ever while serving: They are serving not being served. So, they need to serve with pride but not pride in their own sexual orientation but with pride in America and with pride in supporting our Constitution and freedoms. If that is how it will be done, then how could anyone have a problem with it!

All the best,
Glenn B