Rejecting People Who Would Defend Us

The military is comprised of men and women who devote their lives to protecting us. They achieve this not only through strength of arms, but through intelligence, strategy, management and research.

Since 1993, our armed services have discharged around 10,000 men and women from service to their country because it was discovered that they love members of their same sex.

According to the BBC, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that 757 of these people expelled were in “critical occupations” such as interpreters and intelligence analysts.

They go on to say that “Some 322 had proficiency in strategically important languages that the Pentagon has said are in short supply”.

In terms of raw dollars, the Pentagon policy toward gay people has eaten into our defense budget by over $200 million – and that cost is only the cost to replace these personnel.

The Pentagon policy is justified because they claim that having gays serve can undermine the performance of the military.

In contrast, historically, societies have been known to encourage gays to serve in a military context because they would fight wholeheartedly and without fear to save and defend their comrade.

The BBC also reports that three high ranking military officers, after their retirement, have declared that they are gay, and are speaking out against the absurdities inherent in this Pentagon policy – not only logistically and economically, but within the very fabric of the military social context.

These admirable people are Brigadier General Virgil Richard, Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, and Brigadier General Keith Kerr.

“Neither Dr Steinman or General Richard fully realised they were gay when they joined up, and both said they had “struggled emotionally” as a result.”

There is no actual basis for the Pentagon’s justification of banning men and women from military service based upon whom they love. Gays are allowed to serve in the military in many countries, without adverse effect.

UKIn 1999, the UK lifted its ban on gays in the military after the European Court of Human Rights ruled it was unlawful. And since that time, the armed forces of the UK have demonstrated that no diminution in military combat effectiveness has resulted.

It is time that we stopped segregating, alienating and marginalizeing people. The military and sports are the last great bastions of male self doubt and insecurity left – these bastions of “masculinity” where self-hating men can run to and hide themselves away in bravado and the manifestation of self-loathing by attacking others.

Let the military be for military, sports be for the sport, and the love possible between people grow as much as possible.

  • Robert

    I have service in the armed services for over 5 years know and I was not aware that I was gay till after I had serviced for a couple of years. Should I be kicked out because I like the same sex? I have serviced without incident. I love fighting for my country for I am on my second tore in Iraq. I fear ever day that I may wake up and everything I love be my taken anyway and I will be kicked out. I just want to service my country many on my family members have serviced or are serving. Why can I not just service?

  • I think it comes down to people not being comfortable with themselves. They want to pretend that other men cannot be gay, just as they cannot have any homosexual feelings themselves. I believe that the strongest proponents of keeping gays out of the military are struggling against aspects within themselves. As for the military leaders, if they are not struggling with those aspects within themselves, then they are assuming that many other men under their command are, and are choosing to just sweep matters under the carpet instead of having people live out in the open.

    I am really sorry to hear you have to live your life feeling that way every day Robert. It is not right that you should.

    I know some gay men who are considering enlisting in military service right now, knowing full well that they are gay. Most of them are doing it because, like you, the military has been a part of their family, and they want to carry on in that tradition.

    But as it stands now, if they do join the military, then they must make themselves into liars if they have any hope of the military accepting them. From my perspective, I would want no part of such a petty, mean-spirited organization. And it does not seem right for the military to require people to lie or misrepresent themselves if they want to continue serving, when these people have done nothing wrong.

    I wish very much that you didn’t have to experience those feelings you mentioned. I wish that the military were able to hold you in high esteem and value for the loyalty and passion you obviously feel for your service. It is a shame that the deeper parts of you that make you a human being with passion — those parts that make being alive worth while — have to be hidden away.

    I know of some guys in the military who have managed to find others in similar situations, but it is always risky even just to hang out together. I think that most guys in your situation probably feel very isolated and alone, even with their good buddies beside them, because they have to keep that huge wonderful part of themselves locked away all the time.

    For what it’s worth, there are a lot of us guys who are not afraid, who are speaking out and working to bring some enlightened sensibilities to this unjust and injurious policy. We know that it is impossible for you to help right now, being in service to your country through the military.

    There are many ways to serve your country, or even moreso, your fellow man. But the military is very, very slow to change and adapt. But when it finally does, we will know that we have reached a better place for all of us, and certainly not just in the military.

    You deserve respect for who you are. And as an organization of The People, the military must be required to give you that respect. The change is inevitable, but likely distant still. In the meantime, I (we), are doing all we can to help make things better.

    And believe this: there is nothing wrong or strange about who you are. It is them that is fucked up. You’re just caught in a bit of a stupid trap. But the world is always much, much wider, as I’m sure you must have seen for yourself from time to time.

    You should have as much respect from the military as you give to it. I could make a stupid example and say, why would you want to stay with someone who doesn’t respect you?

    But maybe they will some day. It will take people like you to make that happen.

    All kinds of battles, eh?

  • Actually, I wanted to put a quick reference to a statement in here that Zane coincidentally posted about recently.

    It sounds like, from the context of his statement, this senator is meeting asking the Secretary of State, Ms. Rice, to consider: if the cost for training and hiring linguists will be so high, why doesn’t the State Department hire the many Pentagon linguists they expelled for being gay, since these people are already trained and have security clearance, and we’ve already invested so much in them?

    He also, tongue in cheek, mentioned that we’re lucky the people in Bhagdad don’t know about the fixation and fear the Pentagon has for gay people, because if they did, they could send our troops fleeing with a Lesbian brigade.