Ask, tell, but still be a second class citizen.

It seems the country is poised on the precipice of overturning the DADT legislation and allowing openly gay people to stop denying who they are and serve without fear of discrimination.  This is pretty much a non-event to a lot of people in the military.  I have served at quite a few places with people who are gay, and really, most people know, or suspect; very few care.  We are surprisingly tolerant of people in the military, contrary to the Neanderthal impression many people have of us.

I had the opportunity to attend a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell brief that was supposed to “feel out” the troops and garner our opinions and such and had really high hopes that I would learn something about coming policy shifts.  I should have known better.  It seemed that no one wanted to ask any meaningful questions, we got the “I’m against it because of my religion, will I be able to not serve with one of dem gay boys?” morons; to which my thought was “You’re serving with them now asshole, what about Jesus’s words on acceptance and not judging?”  Then we got “Will people be offered the opportunity to end their enlistment since they didn’t sign on for this?” ; My opinion is that you signed on to serve, not serve with only people you like, so shut the fuck up, I can’t get out because I have to serve with a dumbass like you, so you can serve with gays and lesbians.

My question was this: “Since there is already a pretty big disparity in the housing allowances for single and married members, and several states are right now preparing to recognize gay civil unions and marriages, how is the military going to treat members who are married in one of those states in regards to family separation pay, housing allowances, and relocation costs?”  I was thrilled to be allowed to ask this question, because in my pie in the sky idealism, I thought the military would do the right thing by these people; unfortunately, the answer was basically that there is a Federal Defense of Marriage act, which would allow the Military to not treat these people as married, and thus allow them to get screwed out of thousands of dollars a year.  YAY Government!

Unfortunately, we ran out of time answering questions from bigoted assholes before I could ask my second question, so I had to catch the presenters afterward to find out this:  “We base our harassment claims on the perception of the person who is offended.  How are we going to protect the religious person’s freedom to express their religious beliefs under the First Amendment, while still avoiding a hostile workplace for someone who may be offended by being told their lifestyle is a sin or one that is unnatural to God?  The answer was a very non-committal “well, uh, we have uh, rules and regs in effect about harassment already, so, uh, we’ll have to follow and see how they go.”

I was totally underwhelmed.


5 Responses to “Ask, tell, but still be a second class citizen.”

  1. Some Chick Says:

    Some of the potential for harassment comes from the particular service in which one serves, the unit and its function, and the leadership of said unit. There are still units in the Marine Corps, for ex., that actively discriminate against females despite the policies against it. Also, the bigoted types tend to feel self righteous and believe they are supported in their prejudices by the masses so speak out more often and loudly. The happy-go-lucky “everyman” figures often remain quiet, so the loudmouths are perceived as more numerous/popular than they are.

    I believe DADT will be removed. There will be some units where this is a non-event and others where fearful ignoramus types will cause issues, just like there is still that stuff going on with females and, to a lesser extent, so called minorities. Used to happen a lot with blacks, less so now. Used to happen more with females, too, but is slowly dying down. Changes to the social dynamic can take time to be seen as the norm. I just hope that people are more sensible and compassionate (read, non-violent) then they have been in the past.

    • My main complaint was that we will end DADT, but we’re really not doing anything to equalize the treatment. If you are married in your home state, the military will not recognize your marriage and will treat you like a single person, denying your spouse benefits that a straight couple will get. This is a travesty, and it makes repealing DADT nothing more than an empty, showy gesture. If the Governement was serious about it, they would make gay married couples eligible for the same benefits, as it is, this isn’t very helpful in showing our acceptance.

      I’m really disgusted by the bgiotry that was on display masquerading as religous belief, and hope that those people don’t try to push their piety on others.

  2. Some Chick Says:

    Baby steps, Angerguy, baby steps. Just as I don’t believe a president of any particular racial background or gender is the answer to years of oppression, or that gov’t health care is going to save everyone, I still believe it’s a step in the right direction. On a certain level, a (sub)conscious barrier has been shattered for millions of people. Now children who were told, “You can be anything you want — even president!” actually grow up with that as a more tangible dream rather than a vague promise that gets shoved away as so-called reality sets in. The more we dream, the more we seek to achieve. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good step.

    • I said many times if you recall that between Obama and McCain, I hoped Obama got elected so we could break that barrier and our next black president could be a good one. Although I have to admit, the more I see her give speeches and doing her job on TV, the more i believe that of the major candidates, Hillary would have been the best president (discounting Ron Paul of course).

      As for the health care, I will have to address that at some point, because I come off as being a cold uncaring prick, when in reality, I think people having access to health care is wonderful, I just disagree that the government should use its powers of coercion to force a doctor to work for another person, therefore making him the slave of that person. This is especially frustrating considering it was a government push to create HMOs that led to the abuses of same. My point where I disagree is that giving people gov’t healthcare is more harmful philosophically because of the position it puts the person forced to provide a service in tot he person unable to pay them for their service. Also, I have government healthcare, it sucks. Before we give the government power over everyone’s health, we should make them clean up the VA medical system. Another problem I have with the healthcare debate is that healthcare is not a “right”, the very definition of right precludes it from being one as your “right” to healthcare would infringe on the doctor’s right to demand compensation for his services. Once we open that door, it won’t be long before cable TV and internet are “rights” as well. I actually saw a news story about the economy with an accompanying picture that had some dumbass holding a sight saying a job is a right. It makes me want to cry that people are so ignorant about their rights, that they discard their inherent ones seeking protected status for things that don’t matter. You can always find some sort of work, once you give up your freedom, it’s not coming back.

  3. Some Chick Says:

    Card carrying member of the ACLU right here. Civil liberties are too damned important.

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