From Secret To Separate But Equal – New, Terrible Ideas Regarding Gays In Military

If, like us, you have been wondering exactly what strategies and options the Pentagon needs to research with its ten-month review of a DADT repeal, we may be able to answer that for you, at least partly and possibly. It appears that the military has been considering separate housing for gay and straight soldiers if DADT is repealed - or possibly it’s “absolutely off the table” and is just a thing people are joking about on coffee breaks, depending on who you listen to. If you listen to the military itself when questioned directly about the matter, you might think this is unfair speculation.

[Pentagon Spokesman Geoff] MORRELL:This could be dealt with through education programs, through training programs, or it may require “facilities adjustments.” But no one, no one is considering “separate but equal” bathing or living facilities for you know, gay and straight troops. That’s just not ever a consideration.

Q: So that’s off the table.

MORRELL: Absolutely off the table.

Or, if you ask different people who work for the same organization and word the question slightly differently, you might get a completely contradictory answer!

[Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway] said the Marines may make such housing arrangements “voluntary” to accommodate any “moral concerns.” He said many Marines are “very religious” and because of their moral concerns “don’t want to room” with homosexuals.

(@jezebel)

My questions here are a) whether that’s effectively any different from segregation, the point of which has always been to make the majority group feel comfortable and safe, and b) whether, if it is different, it might actually be worse? Is it helpful at all to allow servicemembers to be out if you also allow their comrades to completely ostracize them? Is this what we’ve been waiting ten months for? Maybe they would also like to advise us to make sure to leave room for the Holy Spirit between us and the other inhabitants of the foxhole?

And while it wasn’t brought up in the original post, this Jezebel commenter makes a good point I think:

Regardless of whether or not this aspect of military life is something I agree with, it does seem to be a basic tenet of military philosophy that the individual’s needs are secondary to that of the group, and that we all need to make sacrifices for The Team – except apparently when we are “very religious” and have “moral concerns”? Specifically w/r/t The Homosexuals? I wonder how it feels for non-homophobic soldiers, who don’t get any special considerations when it comes to, oh, seeing their families, or choosing not to bunk with people whom they disapprove of for arbitrary reasons. Does it feel like watching your more bigoted coworkers getting rewarded for their bigotry? Because that’s my best guess.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

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26 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    I can’t approach the DADT question without calling into question our military system as a whole, its purpose, and all the ethical problems with it. I don’t mean to sidetrack the discussion here, but DADT is just a tiny aspect of a much larger problem.

    None of the U.S.’s founding documents mention a standing army. People at the time argued that a standing army would be a dangerous thing, because it would likely become a tool through which those in power could implement their agenda. That’s exactly what has happened, and the purpose of our military is not to defend the country, but to go around taking over countries and actualizing plans to funnel money and power into the hands of those in charge. The U.S. has been at war continuously since my parents were born. Ministry of Peace, anyone? We have military personnel stationed in more than 100 countries around the world. Under what right?

    Is it any surprise gay people are treated like shit in such an organization? In a college class I took, when asked if there was a lot of racism in the military, a black student who was an ex-servicemember said, “AAAAAAAAAAAAll day long.”

    “. . . segregation, the point of which has always been to make the majority group feel comfortable and safe . . .”

    Of course. They need to keep this horrible machine well-oiled and working smoothly. Move along, folks . . . nothing to see here . . . just put your head down and keep following orders. What crap.

    Sadly, in the mean time, we have LGBT people who are caught up in this beast. They can get a pension taken away, even if they have worked 30 years to earn it. They get assaulted by their coworkers. These people need justice fair treatment immediately, but their problems will never go away until some of these larger problems are addressed.

    A lot of the DADT debate is based on the false assumption that our military is a valid organization that pursues a right purpose, which it isn’t. Why try to change an organization whose underlying purposes are counterproductive to a free society? Destroy that whole thing and start over with an organization that actually addresses the defensive and safety needs of the country.

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      DADT does address the larger problem. Do we have a civilian run military or not? If “no”, we cannot repeal DADT. If “yes” we should be able to for no other reason than because we, the American people, say so.

      John McCain readily admits he is doing what the military is telling him to do. And that’s backwards, and it should alarm every American.

      Obama is allowing himself to be pushed around by the military’s top brass, just like Clinton. We don’t need to scrap the military, we just need Democrats to have the guts to take back control of it and stop being afraid of seeming soft on defense…or elect some actual liberal Democrats.

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    I’ve been following this whole DADT thing closely for a long time, and frankly, it’s starting to make my head explode a little bit. I live in Canada… where we have actual gay weddings on actual military bases. It’s been five years now, and society HAS NOT CRUMBLED. It was a *slightly* big deal when it started happening, but now doesn’t even warrant an occasional news story. It’s just not a concern that gay people get married OR serve in the military. I hope the situation in the US is resolved soon because really, it’s not a big deal at all. It’s just normal.

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    Don’t straight people realize yet that we are everywhere and you can’t always tell who is gay? So yeah, okay. You go ahead and implement “straight” living arrangements. Good luck with that. I bet you’ll end up sleeping next to a closeted queer anyway.

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      When I was in the military, I did not encounter any homophobia. People would say stupid things, but it came from ignorance rather than hatred. The truth is that everyone in the military knows that there are a large number of gays serving. It is a non-issue and has never affected work. It’s like most of the unwritten laws where officers say what they need to for the sake of conservative opinion but do not agree about. The truth is that ignorance should never be accommodated. When two people are fighting for the same side, it does not matter who is gay. Everyone has an obligation to protect the ones who are saving them. If a soldier abandons a fellow soldier because he is homophobic, than he is the weaker soldier. It disappointments me that our country would use religion as an excuse to justify this activity. The Military Code of Conduct says to never leave a soldier behind, and the military continually trains that all servicemen are equal. If the military cannot not accommodate to all religions, I don’t know why they would use one as an example. It makes no sense because some religions aren’t homophobic, and some religions endorse illegal activity, racism, and general nonconformity. If a subordinate is homophobic, he should be teamed up with a disproportionate number of gay soldiers, and then they would have to work together. That is how the military should instill teamwork.

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    So. What happens when everything goes through, DADT is repealed and segregation doesn’t happen, and we get to the part where the one out gay man fighting for LGBT rights in the military gets bunked with a troop of stereotypical testosterone-driven hardcore conservative manley men in their squad of brawn and moral justification that homosexuality is a sin and should be destroyed?

    5+:1 phobic-to-out ratio. Bathroom with a single exit.
    Just a thought.

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      You know that rape is already a huge problem in the military, right? So the argument “we shouldn’t have equality because it will lead to rape in the military” doesn’t make any sense?

      This is exactly what happened when they started talking about letting women on submarines. Suddenly sexaul assault became everyone’s! first! concern! Those poor stupid women/queers, they just haven’t thought this through. We’re just trying to protect them.

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        I wasn’t thinking rape, though that probably would happen too. I was more thinking along the lines of Matthew Shephard and Laramie Project and some horrible beatings to death/murders or “we don’t know who shot him we just found him and good riddance” happening.

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    I agree lindsey p. I hate everything too.
    No, this has gone on FAR too long.
    Why couldn’t I have been born in a country where this is a non-issue and I could’ve joined their military and still be free to be who I am.

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    And if this actually, stupidly, somehow managed to happen, you know it’d get turned around on us as them uppity queers being coddled and given special pampered treatment and all that “equal rights” folderol was just a scam to get their own orgy party bunks! Ugh.

    In other obnoxiously depressing news I’ve had to read this morning, the argument that gay marriage will lead to marrying animals gets more ridculous: pets already have the edge!
    http://www.allgov.com/Unusual_News/ViewNews/Federal_Employee_Health_Benefits__Dogs_Yes_Gay_Partners_No_101018

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    I was just thinking… how is this any different from the changing room at the pool/gym/whatever?

    I swim at the public pool every weekend. When I go change in the changing room. I was a swimmer in high school, so I’m not one of those shrinking violets who goes and hides in the private stalls. Which means ZOMG YOU CAN SEE QUEER GIRL BITS WHEN I’M UP IN THERE.

    And yet no one is clamoring for a queer girl changing room at the pool.

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    Is this NOT what we tried to do with African Americans? Segregate them into separate barracks etc? How’d that work out for the military?
    In addition, how are those separate barracks going to work? How do you PROVE who is gay?? I guarantee I could post a pic of myself and the only way you’d KNOW I’m gay is because I’m here, on Autostraddle, telling you so. So, is this going to become like the bullying has? We THINK you’re gay so we’re going to put you in the gay barracks? Or is it straight until proven gay?
    I so sick of MANY countries in the civilized worl recognizing the LGBT worl and the people as PEOPLE who deserve the same rights as everyone else which America limps along behind PRETENDING to be progressive out of one corner or our mouth but spewing hatred and trying to figure out ways to keep us separate with the other.
    I remember, barely, when America WAS at the fore-front of progress and it is sooooo depressing to see how far we’ve fallen and so quickly.
    I, too, am starting to “hate everything”. ******sigh*****

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    Maybe “white flight” is a more precise analogy. But to answer your question, yes, it is segregation. It’s not mandated by the military but the troops will still effectively segregate themselves.

    And I don’t know if this is just me but the so-called “moral concern” over rooming with gays is kinda paradoxical considering joining the military in a combat capacity during wartime involves the distinct possibility of ending someone else’s life.

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      “And I don’t know if this is just me but the so-called “moral concern” over rooming with gays is kinda paradoxical considering joining the military in a combat capacity during wartime involves the distinct possibility of ending someone else’s life.”

      it’s not just you.

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      But you’re ending someone’s life as part of an effort to line some bigwig’s pockets, so it’s all good!

      Seriously, the situation is pretty grim…

      It’s like in Vietnam when the chaplains stopped saying “Thou shalt not kill” and started saying “Thou shalt not murder.” I’m not a religious person, but come on.

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      Yeah I feel you. I don’t know how it happens that dialogue about equal rights in the military somehow ends all dialogue involving thoughts like “we need to end all war immediately because it’s not the answer”. Or at least end the mess we started in the Middle East because it’s been absurd since day one.

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    Oh, for FUCK’S sake. Angry and unsurprised/resigned is more or less how I feel too, but in the face of this utter ridiculousness (beyond the usual, of course) I’m just angry. A soldier is rooming with a gay comrade RIGHT NOW and he doesn’t know this guy is gay and he’s completely fine with this comrade and their living arrangements and whatnot. But if he finds out his roomie is gay, that’s suddenly a problem? The only thing that’s changed in the situation is that the soldier now knows his comrade’s sexual orientation. Nothing else has changed. If he has a problem with this, that’s on him.

    “Is it helpful at all to allow servicemembers to be out if you also allow their comrades to completely ostracize them?”

    It’s just rehashing DADT in a new form. They’re fine with repealing it, as long as they get to keep the underlying principles in place.

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    This action is just making it clear that the U.S’s stance on homos is one of shame and disgust. As if gays are not human. HOWEVER, it COULD be kinda fun…
    gay sleepovers! YAY!

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