I'm going to talk about Gays in the military. Before I start, I'm fully aware that "queer" isn't politically correct, thank you - no need to comment or email about it. I also say that some things are "lame" or "retarded". We'll address political correctness another day....
This woman I know named... let's say Emily, believes that being gay is a choice. I met Emily at the LYS and I love her! She's funny and kind and has a gaggle of kids that she homeschools (4 or 5 of 'em!) which is much braver then anything I've ever done. She's fairly religious and I'm not. We talk about things but there's lots of things we don't talk about because we have very fundamentally opposing views and none of it's really relevant to knitting so we just don't discuss, right?
She thinks being gay is a choice, in fact she knows it to be true just as I know for a fact that it's not true.
One day at the shop, we were talking about gays in the military; it was a subject brought up by another person at the shop. One of the points that came up was regarding security clearance. Emily said, "They usually aren't eligible for a high security clearance because if they get that clearance then go gay, they lose their clearance and get kicked out of the military."
I had to laugh and said, "Yea, you gotta hate when they go gettin' all gay on you!" We all had a laugh and Emily blushed a bit and made her real point which was that if a person is in the military and they come out of the closet, they get kicked out then the military loses time and tons of money having to train someone else to take their place. Which is true and a really good point!
She also brought up the valid point that if someone decides they don't want to deploy to Iraq or something, they can "come out of the closet" and just get out of the military. That's true but I had to add that it wasn't that easy and that it wasn't exactly an honorable discharge so I don't think that happens too often. She conceded that it was, in fact, rare.
Another person asked how the military knew since Emily said they don't give that kind of high clearance to gays. I said that they couldn't know for sure but that more often then not, in the MOS's (military jobs) that didn't involve the field pretty much everyone knows who the gay soldiers are. I also said that in my short (5 year) experience in the Army, nobody really cared as long as you were a good soldier.
At Ft. Huachuca, where I spent my last 2 years in, I worked at the hospital. I was on the Women's Meddac Softball team and out of 15 women, I was one of 2 and 1/2 that were straight. (Evelyn was Bi. Her theory was, "Why limit yourself?" Why indeed, Ev, why indeed.) Nobody in the hospital cared. At all.
If you were a fuck-up, it could be one of many reasons they can kick you out. It's pretty damn hard to prove though. They essentially have to have an eye-witness, written or photographic proof. Or a confession.
When I was in Basic Training, a girl came out of the closet. Her stupid bunkmate was snooping through B's things and found a letter that B had written to her girlfriend. Her bunkmate took the letter to the DS. The DS told the bunkmate to mind her own damn business and made her do a bunch of push-ups for going through someone else's things. B wanted out. She hated Basic Training and we were all sitting around talking about it and she starts crying and saying that she should just go "confess" so she could get out. We smacked her upside the head and reminded her that the real Army wouldn't be like Basic Training, we were only 2 weeks from graduating BT, and it would be a dishonorable discharge!! We talked her out of it but a bunch of the other women in the platoon had a real problem with her being gay. I said that was the most retarded thing I'd ever heard, "Y'all had no problem with her yesterday when she was bustin' her ass with the rest of us. What's different today? She's the exact same person."
I think the whole "don't ask, don't tell" bullshit was one of the biggest presidential copouts in American history. It was a political move to appease both sides without really appeasing either. It looks as though it may be overturned soon and that gays can be as open as they'd like in the military.
It's such a non-issue though! It's not like gays are going to be making out at work any more then hetero's do. It's all so stupid.
I know in the bulk of the "real" military where it's all guys and a lot of them are homophobic, it would be difficult but if everyone can just see that these are the same people they were yesterday when no one "knew" about their private lives.... know what I'm sayin'?
I asked my friend Phil what he thought about it all. I asked if he knew of any gay SEALS, he laughed and said no. Then he said that statistically, there had to be some but he never knew of any. I also laughed and agreed that with the guys he worked with, they'd have to be pretty deeply closeted.
He also brought up that the military was voluntary and for someone to come into this institution knowing the rules and then cry foul because their rights are being trod upon was ludicrous. I fully agree with that as well. He also reminded me that when you sign up for the military you sign a binding contract that, essentially, makes you government property and also that very clearly states you have to do as you are told. For now, they are telling people to keep it in the closet. I agree with that point as well. It's not like a person stumbles into the military with their eyes shut. The recruiters are very thorough when going over every single piece of paperwork you need to sign.
I want "don't ask, don't tell" to be overturned but for now it's not and as it stands you have to stay in the closet. Everyone knows that. For someone to come into this voluntarily and then try to make waves is someone who is just asking for trouble. They aren't Rosa Parks and the military is not like the rest of the real world. The military won't let you go to court to try and change things, the military will just kick you out. If that same person really wants to make a difference, they need to work from the outside in, changing legislation.
It puts me in mind of conscientious objectors. That's a group that makes me roll my eyes in disgust. The sole purpose of the military is to be called to duty when there's war. For a person to join the military for college money then when they get called up they are suddenly a conscientious objector? Come on! Fine. You don't have to go. But you do have to pay back all that money.
I think when I rule the world, things will be very different, Ruth!