The duo of Heather Meinders and Eric Bielawski gelled quite well in our last discussion post of SQ 744. They provided lively debate and critical insight. This will likely become a special feature dedicated to an open discussion between a supporter of an issue and someone who is against it.
SHOULD GAY SOLDIERS BE ALLOWED IN THE MILITARY?
Should gay/lesbian/bi-sexual soldiers be allowed to openly serve in the military? Recently, the military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, formed under the administration of President Bill Clinton has come under fire. President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in an effort to allow homosexual soldiers to serve their country openly.
A Statement in favor of Gays in the Military
by Heather Meinders
So, the United States Congress recently decided that gays and lesbians could openly serve in the United States Armed Forces. And this is what year? 2010? How progressive of them.
I’m glad they could finally join the 21st Century. I realize with many military-minded people that they were DRAGGED into the 21st Century, kicking and screaming, with their teeth marks firmly entrenched somewhere back in the 1950’s.
But, alas, it has happened. I wonder… will the US Army suddenly get down on its knees? Will the Navy just bend over and take it? Will the Marines stop in mid-march and say “eww! A bug!” When will they roll out the pink tanks? I suppose the new special forces unit will be known as the Rainbow Berets?
Obviously, I’m being facetious. I’m sure every branch of the US Armed Forces will be just fine. And do you know why? Because they’ve always been there. Whether people want to admit it or not, gay men and women have been serving in the military for years and years.
In fact, as long as there have been soldiers—there have been gay soldiers. How do you think those guys kept warm at Valley Forge?
For a moment, forget the American military, and think about militaries of the past. How about the Greeks and the Romans? Jeez, in those societies everyone basically swung both ways (or at least, so the history books will lead us to believe). Those guys didn’t even know what the word ‘gay’ meant.
I’ve been giving some thought to the issue for a while now and I have a few comments.
First, I wonder how much an issue this really is. Is it a created issue? Is it something meant to distract us? As I said earlier, obviously there ARE gays and lesbians serving in the military, but I also realize that gay men have a certain personality type. I also realize that there is a certain personality type that regularly joins the military. These two personality types don’t often cross.
Seriously… those who join the military like to shoot people, break things and blow things up. I can’t imagine there are a lot of gay men signing up for these jobs (yes, I realize there’s more to the military than just that…there’s all different kinds of jobs in the military, just like there are all different kinds of people—which is why this shouldn’t be that big of an issue).
I could actually see there being more of an issue with the female soldiers—for I could imagine that many lesbian women MIGHT have an interest in the military (although, from my experience, most lesbian women would be politically opposed to the concept of the military).
I have never served in the military, so I am not privy to all the ins and outs of day-to-day military life—so I’m unsure as to how much of an impact the issue would have. I could understand some difficulties, complications while living in barracks, showering together, things of that nature—that might make some people uncomfortable.
But again, what we have to realize is, we’re not talking about a sudden influx of gay people in the military. We’re talking about ‘open’ gays in the military—meaning, many of them have already been there. Or better said, they will continue to be there in the same percentages they have always been. Whether the individual soldier chooses to tell his/her fellow soldiers they are gay, is up to them….as with all people. And, as with all people, how each of those soldiers handles that will be different—and each according to their own personality.
A Statement in Opposition of Gays in the Military
by Eric Bielawski
I’m a realist. I know that there have been homosexuals in the U.S. Military for a very long time. It’s not as if, as Heather points out, that homosexuality is a new thing. However, that does not mean that I’m a supporter of allowing homosexuals into our military.
Our military exists to protect our country. To protect our country, our military uses an ethos that focuses on morale, unit cohesion, and discipline. There is a chance that any threat to the non-sexual binding of unit cohesion, could negatively affect moral, discipline and could cause friction. Could this cause an adverse effect on our national security? Perhaps.
Our soldiers are taught to not have feelings. Or at least not to allow emotion to impact their abilities on the field of battle or in the confines of station. With the introduction of openly homosexuals into the military, there is always the possibility of emotions getting the better of two people. There are very few emotions more distracting than those included in the pursuit of and/or breaking apart sexual relationships.
Perhaps this same argument could be applied to heterosexuals who are serving in the military as well. If a male and female in the military are involved in a relationship, could that not compromise their ability to focus in the heat of battle if they knew their loved one was in danger?
I recently discussed this with a friend who had served man years in the military. He asked me how I would feel about showering with a gay man? I told him, as long as that gay man didn’t come up and try to make small talk while I was washing myself, it probably wouldn’t bother me. He was flabbergasted. I then asked him if he would take a shower with 100 women? He of course was all for that. And who wouldn’t be? We then made a few jokes about soap being dropped and things like that. But I digress.
However, in thinking about the conversation, I can see how it might be an issue. Some people would be uncomfortable with it. What would that do to morale? Could it lead to issues with the openly gay soldiers being ostracized and thus causing issues for them? This is a big concern to me as I think it would be tragic. There are simply a lot of unanswered questions.
Personally, I have no business in telling a person what they stick where or where they choose to put their mouth. My personal philosophy has always been that you can’t control who you love or even who you are attracted to physically or emotionally. The heart wants, what the heart wants.
However, in the military, I think that personal emotions should not even be an issue. If you are gay, you should not be serving your country in the military. To my knowledge, there is no Constitutional right to serve your country in the military should you want to do so.