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Bigots are the problem in the military

I was killing some time earlier today doing some genealogical research of online records that originated in my father’s hometown of Henderson, Kentucky. That search lead me to the website the Henderson local newspaper The Gleaner (that search also led me to finding out a couple of things about Dad’s side of the family that I’m still a little…OK, a lot stunned to find out…but that’s for a future diary).

While surfing through the site I came across this letter to the editor about the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, I came across this letter to the editor that’s so eloquent that it needs no analysis; it speaks quite well for itself.

I don’t often reminisce about my military days, but recent opinions concerning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have had me traveling down some dusty paths of memory. Mostly, I’ve been pondering the “tell” part, and whether it is inappropriate to advertise your sexuality in the service.

During my term, we were young, healthy and single. We advertised our sexuality at every opportunity. I served with Christians of all stripes. Know what I noticed? Christians talk about sex.

I remember a Catholic lieutenant colonel who, when he’d come to pick up his intel, would tell us a joke, usually dirty. Inappropriate? Yeah — but wickedly funny. One of the most interesting conversations I had while I was enlisted was with a newly married Mormon, a really nice guy, who thanked God for sex. My supervisor, a divorced Southern Baptist staff sergeant, talked about missing it … badly.

The letter continues below the fold.  

I’ll never know how many homosexuals I served with. Two for sure. The first one left the service after graduating top of his class from tech school, discharged for voluntarily disclosing his sexuality.

The other came out to me after I’d known him for a bit. By the time he told me he was gay, I already knew. We ALL knew. How? Well, while the rest of us were talking about sex, he never talked about it. Ever. See, if public discussion of sexuality is a problem, it is OUR problem. We heterosexuals just can’t shut up about it.

The military is not a Christian organization. It is, however, an ongoing social experiment. We experimented when we decided that anyone of any religion could join, when we integrated the service (years before Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights acts of the ’60s), and when we expanded the role of women in the service. Things didn’t always go smooth with those experiments, but we did it and the service is better for it.

The problem with gays in the military isn’t gays. It’s bigots. The answer isn’t to get rid of gays; it’s getting rid of the bigots. That’s how we handled it during all those other transitions — service members either learned to get past their prejudices or were discharged.

We shouldn’t ask whether gays should be in the military — they serve and always have. We should ask why homosexuals should be silent when heterosexuals aren’t. We should ask, is a bigot who says he won’t serve with gays any better than one who says he won’t serve with Jews?

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