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Don’t ask, I’m still telling

Obama said it in his State of The Union address: Let gay Americans serve their country. Do away with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

 

The camera then got a shot of the men in official military uniform who all did not clap at the idea the president had proposed. Maybe they were just being polite, maybe they didn’t clap because they hated the idea of gays being “out” in the military. Nevertheless the fact remains that the DADT policy has been oppressing gay people for as long as it has been employed.

Why can’t we be out? Better to be honest than to lie to people. I’ve had a lot of conversations with individuals who had never really gotten to know a gay man before meeting me, and all of them were enlightened by the end of our meeting, leaving with an opened mind and some new insight into a world they had formerly known nothing about.

The people who are behind DADT are afraid of this type of enlightenment. They’re afraid that someone might learn something and perhaps even stop being prejudiced. Heaven forbid!

I read in The Advocate’s November issue that a military serviceman was taunted, restrained and beaten by other men on his base because he had “effeminate mannerisms.” He didn’t even open his mouth to say that he was or wasn’t gay, nor did anyone bother to ask, because they aren’t supposed to. That’s the heterosexual “don’t ask” half of the bargain. The men just skipped to teasing and calling him names because they weren’t allowed to ask. So the guy gets tied up and tortured after not saying he’s gay, and the military decided that he should be the person to be kicked out, not the torturers.

This man is no longer allowed to serve his country, just because it was speculated that he might be gay. Apparently, the military considers that a worse offense than restraining and beating someone.

Obviously the DADT policy is flawed and needs to be repealed and replaced by a policy that says, “Who cares? You want to serve? Let’s go then!”

I feel that a lot of this fear of mixing gays and straights is coming from the same mindset that opposed school integration in the 1960s. Whites who wanted to keep segregation feared that their children would grow close to black kids, close enough to be romantic. The pro-segregation parents didn’t want sexual mixing between the white kids and their black classmates, because that might end white purity.

Being gay doesn’t make us the minority, because it doesn’t make us different. We are exactly the same as straight people. Sure, we currently are being denied certain rights, but that isn’t because we are gay. It is because the heterosexual white male is afraid of acceptance and integration – again! He’s afraid because if he does accept us, then he is opening a door so that his son or daughter might be able to grow up gay too.

Well, thankfully, our president is not a white man. He’s a mixed man, and he is also a good-hearted man and he’s standing up for every American, not just the straight ones.

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