Cynical Synapse

Sat, 18 Dec 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Is History

Filed under: Congress, Government, Legal, Military, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 9:22 pm

Gays asking to serve openly

So, the Senate passed legislation to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell today. The House passed the measure on Wednesday and Pres. Obama promised to sign it into law next week. The measure ends a prohibition on gays serving openly in the military.

Don’t ask, don’t tell prohibited asking if a servicemember was gay while also admonishing them not to say if they were. Current regulations call for discharging gay servicemembers. The policy has been in effect in since 1993.

Adm. Mike Mullens and Defense Sec. Gates testify

While key leaders seem to favor ending don’t ask, don’t tell, I predict some challenges for unit-level leaders. As you may know, I’m a member of the National Guard with 28 years of service. In my early career, I was Infantry, which excludes females. Since about 1991, I’ve been in units with females. Don’t misunderstand—females make great Soldiers. The problem is with sexuality and mixed gender units have higher potential and incidences of sexual harassment and assault. Such cases are demoralizing and challenging enough when they involve opposite sexes.

My concern with the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell is two-fold. First, there is potential for increased sexual harassment/sexual assault complaints. We have separate male and female barracks in the military, but that does not account for same-sex sexual considerations. Don’t misunderstand—I’m not alledging gay people will assault people en masse because of the end of don’t ask, don’t tell. What I’m saying is separate facilities by gender attempts to reduce a potential for assault. still, eliminating don’t ask don’t tell removes a sanction for assault.

military group

Given the sexual assault argument is relatively minor, my other concern is for the breakdown of military discipline. It’s common knowledge groups tend not to tolerate behavior that’s different from their norm. Only about 8% identify as gay/lesbian/transgender. How do we prevent discriminatory, or even predatory, behavior against same-sex relationships?

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