Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Show, But You May Tell

Don’t Show, But You May Tell

There have been many social injustices over the course of this country’s existence. Relocating Native Americans, slavery, women’s lack of rights, Brett Favre not doing a commercial for AT&T just to name a few. Each time an advancement in civil rights occurs, it is usually met with animosity from a portion of the population that isn’t quite ready for change. Some men, myself included, are still bitter that they now have to do their own laundry. In the present day, equality is the norm for the most part, and there may even be a sense of complacency. However, gay rights, though they’ve come a long way, are not quite up to par. Even in today’s advanced society many people are reluctant to accept homosexuals’ lifestyles, due in part to personal beliefs and of course Will and Grace. One place where gay rights have been hindered the most has been in the military.

The ideals of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have been around since Frederick Gotthold Enslin was discharged from the army under George Washington. Jonathan Katz, writer of Gay American History has listed Enslin’s situation and many similar to it. It isn’t hard to see how uncomfortable the military has been with homosexuals, especially when the furry thongs and assless chaps start running around the barracks. Sure, in those days, tolerance wasn’t really a priority. After all, they had Red Coats to kill. Since then, the actual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was enacted under former President Bill Clinton in hopes of reducing discrimination. However, according to Ed O’Keefe of the NY Times, around 13,000 gay troops have been discharged since 1993. The expense of which has cost taxpayers $400 million in related expenses says Devin Dwyer of ABC News. Don’t worry; you were just going to spend the money on tickets to see Spiderman on Broadway. Never the less, this policy has been costly. There has been friction between gay and straight soldiers (not the kind you’d find in Sodom or Gomorra). Could it possibly have had something to do with, I don’t know, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy itself.

Today, gays are widely accepted in civilian life. Isn’t there a possibility that those sentiments will cross over to military life? Yes. As you know, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in December 2010, and across America there were flashy, neatly groomed men and flannel-covered women dancing in the streets. The repeal hasn’t been enacted just yet, but once President Obama and his DADT staff feel the military is ready for such a transition, the repeal will go into full effect. In a survey conducted by the RAND Corp., soldiers were asked, “If serving with someone who was openly gay, would that affect the group’s ability to work effectively to get the job done?” 70 percent said it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect. The other 30 percent were busy blowing kisses at their Glenn Beck posters. It seems inevitable now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will go through.

Just the gesture of repealing DADT says a lot for the momentum of the gay rights movement. The game is changing so rapidly that despite your ideologies, they’re here, and they’re queer, and they want to take you shopping. While tolerance of homosexuals is becoming a solidified facet of our society, there are still many obstacles to overcome--a little bit of getting accustomed to change. I myself can only take yea so much of Nathan Lane. With the way the DADT repeal and gay marriage are pushing forward, we can see real progress. Military men and women are accepting their queer brethren. Those who aren’t, don’t kid yourselves, you Googled that Brett Favre text too.

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