Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell...a letter to the paper

I will be the first to admit I know very little about the political process and what is required to make a law a law...or to reject a proposed one etc., but I do know what "separation of church and state" means and I do know that BECAUSE of separation of church and state, religion shouldn't play any part in law making in THIS country based on that fact.
I know...try telling THAT to the Christians. *sigh*
Now, due in part to my boring night job, and my new found interest in my politics class...I have been reading the paper more in hopes that all that is confusing will become more clear.
I chanced upon this letter in yesterday's Casper Star Tribune (I'm starting to see a trend here) and it really made my blood boil. (another crappy pic, sorry) Now, according to this gentleman (and I use the term in the loosest possible way) he is quite happy that the Don't Ask/Don't Tell rule in the military was upheld. According to him, the military is NO place for homosexuals anyhow.
In case it's too small to read (I'm sure) his words are, "I am a veteran who shared open showers. It is uncomfortable knowing of a gay man showering in the same 12 shower room. If heterosexual soldiers are attracted to females and forbidden to shower with them, how could it be acceptable for a gay soldier, attracted to men, to be allowed to share showers with other male soldiers?"
Now here's what I'm thinking...see if this makes sense. Gay men are attracted to...oh say...OTHER gay men. If YOU are not gay, chances are other gay men will know it and not bother themselves checking out your "goods". Having said that...who the fuck cares if they do check out your have been subjecting women to the lecherous male gaze since the beginning of time so why cry foul at the very thought that it might get turned on them in some way?
Not to mention, chances are this particular man shared many many showers with gay men while in the military...and just didn't know it. You know why he didn't know it? Cause gay men look just like everyone else...naked..and with their clothes on too for the most part. Also, as far as I men don't make it a point to proclaim their homosexuality while in showers with 12 other men. Just doesn't sound like "good manners"...or even safe for him to do.
This man also goes on to claim that allowing gays in the military (as if there aren't any right now) would require "separate showers, bathing schedules, and living quarters". He claims then gays would claim "discrimination". Ya think?
My question is...why would it require those things? A gay man is still a man...still got the penis and absence of breasts (generally speaking) so he is, in fact, still male...he just happens to like males and not females. How does that translate into requiring separate everything to accommodate them?
His last line is quite the doozy actually. It's the one that really pissed me off. He says...and I QUOTE, "If they don't announce their homosexuality, then I won't announce my heterosexuality."
I was like...huh?
You just announced you heterosexuality by writing this letter. You announced it by declaring NOT being a heterosexual is somehow wrong. Heterosexuals announce it every single time they try (or do) pass a law that makes being hetero the norm and being gay abnormal. By allowing religious thought to invade our political process to the extent that laws are formed and enforced based on some biblical proclamation that being gay is wrong and deserving of punishment is DECLARING your heterosexuality every single day and forcing that declaration down the throat of every citizen of this country whether they like it or not.
Heterosexual Christians (of which this particular writer doesn't claim to be a Christian but I sort of read it in there...maybe that's just me) believe they have the God given right to enforce their ideas of what is normal and what is sinful onto the rest of us...and by prohibiting gay soldiers from declaring themselves as gay...they are, in fact forcing govt to accept church into every little facet of the political process.
To me that sounds anti American govt. Why do we allow it to happen? Why have we allowed Christians to take over the law making decisions of this country when clearly not everyone who lives and are forced to obey those same laws are not Christian and probably don't believe the same things that the Bible claims is true?
If the American Constitution declares that there will be "separation of church and state"...and we are governed by that constitution...why do we have laws that make being gay illegal? Or somehow sinful? Or that forbid them certain rights that heteros enjoy? or? or? or?
Possibly I still have a lot to learn about politics but could someone explain this to me....I'm not getting it.
btw..back to this ex-veteran..he is a homophobe...and THOSE are the sorts of men that shouldn't be allowed in the military...wonder how many of them are though?
grrr...for some reason my paragraphs won't ....paragraph...sorry for the looooong "paragraph"


Kaleema said...

Thank you for this post. I absolutely agree with the ideas you express here on DADT. It's just a pointless and degrading exercise in trying to pretend that LGBTQ folks aren't contributing members of society.

To begin to answer your question about Christianity and US politics, you could watch the documentary "Jesus Camp" (it's on youtube, or at least it was last time I checked). (Warning: for those with experience with Muslims who try to mix religion and politics, a lot of that movie will seem eerily familiar, and not in a pleasant way.)

janice said...

Just a quick correction, the US Constitution does NOT declare a Separation of Church and State. Thomas Jefferson made that statement.

coolred38 said...

Kaleema...thanks for the comment. Ive heard of Jesus Camp..never seen it. Will check it out.

janice...well hell. Still learning...see. I guess there is no hope for those of us not seeing quite eye to eye with Christians intent on bringing the Bible into govt at every opportunity.

Sand Gets in My Eyes said...

My all-time favorite DADT story comes from my mother, who informed me several years ago that she did not know any "gays". You should have seen the look on her face when I started asking about her two women friends who'd been living together for nearly 40 years, and the friend of my dad's who spent his weekends arranging flowers and cried at the drop of a hat, and the two male teacher friends of hers who - again - had lived together for as long as she'd known them and openly done all the couple things...yeah it suddenly made sense to her. I'd imagine this man in the article could use a similar reality check!

Doug Indeap said...

I'm with you on DADT.

Take care though in supposing the principle of separation of church and state precludes religion from playing any part in the making of laws. It does not prevent citizens from making decisions and voicing opinions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle of separation of church and state merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary purpose must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state--as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you.

Susanne said...

I'm pretty sure the Constitution only guarantees the government won't get into the church (as it did in England for instance; Church of England mixes religion and politics). It was more of a protection of that rather than the other way around. People vote. And they often vote their values. So if you have a Christian majority country, you will likely see it reflected in the nation's politics. But with the US increasingly secularizing, I think you will see less and less of this as years pass. So stay tuned and I think DADT will be overturned.

Enjoyed your interesting post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post.

I think it's a more general issue about gay rights. Now coming from a country where society itself is pretty secular, DADT is just odd. Telling people to hide who they are because other people might not be comfortable with it is the wrong way of dealing with the issue.

What's more illogical is that the US Army is losing some of their best soldiers because of ignorance and intolerance, at a time when it needs them the most.

Then there's the hypocrisy regarding gay marriage - how can you say with a straight face that you believe in the US constitution (and everything it says about liberty) yet support the prevention of two people marrying because they happen to be of the same gender? Aaaarghh!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the major grammar issues in my previous post - that's what happens when I'm frustrated whilst armed with a keyboard

Chiara said...

I agree that church and state in the US are not as distinct as some believe, yet freedom of religion is largely protected.

To add to Shafiq's point, one of the supreme ironies of DADT under GWB is that the corps of Arab linguists and culture experts was gutted by DADT just as they were most needed. Hard to train up new, certified heterosexual ones fast enough to meet demand.

Chiara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marahm said...

Notwithstanding the references to law and religion, I sense that your irritation with the op ed piece is more about the author's unease with showering in the presence of gay men.

Well, no one forces him to shower with other men, unless perhaps in boot camp, and that doesn't last long. No law is going to ease this guy's unease, but if he sees your post, he may (or may not) be infused with sudden sympathy for what women have had to endure forever, except for one thing-- women get ogled by men, not by other women.

Normal, natural or not, I daresay the heteros amongst us would feel uneasy having to shower with gays of the same gender.

Chiara said...

That is "Arab linguists" as in linguists specialized in Arabic not necessarily linguists who are Arabs (a number are WASPS and Jews who have done Near Eastern Studies).

Chiara said...

Marahm--Another supreme irony. Most of us using gyms with male and female locker rooms and communal showers do exactly that More heteros on Saturday mornings for the parents and kiddie classes, more homosexuals/ lesbians in evening classes in my experience. They only hit on their own kind, as far as I can tell and have been told.

Angel Darling said...

I agree with what you posted. A few truths for the author:

-gays ARE in the military

-they ARE showering with you already

-they are NOT interested in YOU, so don't flatter yourself.

No one should still be living in the dark.

Anonymous said...

It is no more true that gay people don't hit on heteros than that heteros don't hit on gay people. And it is no more comfortable for people attracted to members of the same sex to be showering communally naked with same sex (hetero) persons than it is for the heteros in question (speaking from personal experience here). That is why there is a movement to have gender neutral housing on college campuses in the States - so people can live with a roommate who isn't going to pose problems of unwanted sexual tension. What would be really nice is if both bisexuals and TGs in particular could get priority in assignments to single rooms...

Marahm said...

Now that gays are out of the closet (for the most part) isn't it time we acknowledge them in some other way than pretending they are just like straights?

OK, in the realm of job performance, they are, indeed, just like straights, but what's wrong with giving them consideration with respect to communal living arrangements in more personal aspects of life?

I don't mean hang a red letter around their necks. However, if they are to be fully integrated, without prejudice, why not be able to identify them? Why not offer three choices for the showers--- straight only, gay only, mixed--- and let people choose their comfort zone?

coolred38 said...

SGIME....thats so funny. My mother had a best friend when I was growing up...I was absolutely thunderstruck to learn she was gay because she had been married for a man. LOL I was like, you cant switch sides!! (according to my underdeveloped brain)

doug...thanks for the clarfication...but if they arent supposed to make laws that are religious in nature or promotes a religious idea that can lead to discrimination against some...then why the no gay in the military/marriage thing...most seculars couldnt care less what gays do..only religious folk feel they need policing.

susanne...I agree but Im wondering if America really is a Christian majority in are the majority actually practicing Christians...or just prefer to tick that box or claim that value rather than the "other choice"? Not to mention, considering our voting electoral college process system is completely unfair, a Christian (self confessed...not by actions far as Im concerned) presidential hopeful can get elected in even though he didnt win more votes. The people spoke...they didnt want him...does that mean they didnt want Christian too?

shafiq...I totally agree with your comment. Thank you.

chiara...Im wondering if all homosexuals in the military decided to quit right now (*or get booted out upon declaration) many that would be... and more importantly...who would be left to fill their spots?

Andrew Bacevich said...we have too few soldiers for too much would think we would hang on to the ones we got. Or stop fighting useles, pointless, destructive wars?

marahm...I was ticked at his attitude more than anything really. He was completely upset at the idea that someone will ogle his goods without his permission. How dare he take exception to that when we women must go through that every day of our lives. Pissed me off. btw I DO oggle women...I get jealous over a nice female body and pine for one yes..I oggle...and plot my revenge. LOL

However, having said that...when I was in bootcamp...I was suddenly thrust into a very large communal shower with 50 different pairs of breasts and butts...first time I had seen that much flesh in my life. No clue where to look...ended up looking at the ceiling. LOL but eventually ur like...meh...need to take a shower...and its just bodies after that.

chiara...I agree. Heard that too.

angel tell him sister!! LOL

anon...I suppose for every assumption there are the exceptions. Communal showers sounds like an interesting idea. If that were implemented in the military...wonder how much soldiering would get done. :)

marahm...choice is what its all about. When you take it away from someone for whatever reason...your excluding them and othering them. We, as humans, apparently love to find someone to place "beneath" us for not other reason that looking down at someone is so much easier than looking up to someone I guess.

Susanne said...

"a Christian (self confessed...not by actions far as Im concerned) presidential hopeful can get elected in even though he didnt win more votes. The people spoke...they didnt want him...does that mean they didnt want Christian too?"

Not sure what you are referring to, but I'm assuming Bush and Gore. Gore is Southern Baptist, I think so I'm sure he considers himself Christian as does Bush (who is Methodist). Whether or not one is practicing or self-called is beside the point really. I tend to think most people are self-called rather than practicing what they claim to believe so Americans voting that way seems only reflecting what they are.

NikkiK said...

Well if the problem is being ogled then the gays could shower with the women and the lesbians could shower with the men. :P

Susie of Arabia said...

There shouldn't be any homosexuality issues with the military. They are people - men and women - and sexual preference just shouldn't even factor into it. These homophobes are just beating a dead horse. I would have said what Angel said but she beat me to it.

Simply Eva said...

They could send all the gay male soldiers to shower with females (and vice versa)...that might solve everyone's problems. ;-))) See, there's no problem without a solution.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a handsom man and not gay, simply put he hates them !! now, we live in a big city and they are everywhere, we travel a lot and happen to do business with many of them (weither we like it or not), Now why do they show their interest in him all the time? and one came boldly and said if you try me (men) once you will never go back to her (women) again. Life to them is all about sex.That is why... WTF !! do you really think that is normal !! Gays need to fade away or we will all someday for allowing them to be amongst us.
They took a beautiful word "GAY" and claimed it to be theirs, they donot and should not be allowed among the militry or anywhere else..
Christian or not they are condemend in all religion!! why

coolred38 said...

Anon....your point that they hit on your husband all the time doesn't really prove they are "all about sex". Not sure you husbands lone experience is the the base from which to judge from...but I do know that regular heterosexual men ALSO believe life is all about sex...and hit on women constantly. So that's hardly something to distinguish gays from.

Men going after them that's women it just makes them dogs with low morals.

Homosexuals have the right to exist even if you (any you) believe God says they are sinning....everyone has the right to exist until God decides they don't....not you and not me...not anyone.

You might think gays should not exist merely because they are gay...but Im inclined to believe people who are full of hate shouldn't be allowed to exist either...after all...the hateful ones are the ones bullying, abusing, and ultimately killing the rest of us. Just a thought.