The topic of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) is, needless to say, quite an emotionally charged and strongly opinionated one and has been since its inception. As it is in the process of being repealed there are multiple articles on news channels, Twitter, and across the Blogosphere. As someone who served, who is heterosexual (metro-sexual if you ask anyone that knows me, but that’s a whole other story), and who was close friends with plenty of other service members who were homosexual I tend to have my own perspective.
I believe that everyone has the right to believe what they choose, and to live in whatever fashion that they choose. This includes sexual preference. One of the things that the United States military defends is that very right, so it would seem nonsensical to expect that people that this right is there to support would not want to defend that right for themselves and others. It should also be understood that sexual preference does not make you weak, and does not make you any less of a patriot. Unfortunately, this is in many cases the same type of thought process that abounded when it came to females serving their country. As we know, history repeats itself. The biggest question is whether or not we learn from the past and continue to grow, develop, and move forward?
So what is the other side of the coin? As I think back to my time in the military, I can take a look at the perspective of some of the hesitation, and potentially some of the thought process from an objective viewpoint. There will always be those people, male and female, who will attempt to use their race, sex, age, religion, etc., et al. to benefit themselves, while asking for equality. I experienced this as I saw females that voluntarily joined the US Navy and would demand equality while refusing to do the same work simply because they were female (yes, it really does happen), or who truly could not do the job because of physical limitations. Of course, this was not the case across the board but was certainly evident in a minority of the population on the ship. I have to believe that this is a potential setback for the thinking about DADT as well.
Another thing that could potentially cause some hesitation for acceptance could be due to the living situation. I can’t necessarily speak for the Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force but in the Navy you live together in extremely close quarters and for many the thought of having someone of the same sex look at you in a sexual manner could be uncomfortable. Most people consider their living space an area for decompressing, where they should be able to be (as much as possible) comfortable, especially in a place where you have very little comfortable, personal space. This isn’t to imply that homosexual members of the service don’t look at heterosexual members now, but for many ignorance is perhaps bliss. Unfortunately it would seem that there are those that have the misconception that because someone is homosexual they can’t control themselves, their attraction, and sexual urges and therefore will attack someone they find attractive like a wild cat on an injured baby gazelle. As most of us know, this is no more true than the fact that the average heterosexual male can’t control his sexual attraction in the same manner.
From a purely logical stand point, the only thing that should ultimately change with the repeal of DADT is the open knowledge of sexual preference of those who are comfortable enough to share that information. In my own experience, those that were comfortable in their sexuality would generally share that with those that they were close with, even with DADT in effect. For those that are in the proverbial closet, I don’t believe that DADT being removed will necessarily change anything. This act may make some heterosexual service members uncomfortable if perhaps they are uncomfortable confronting what was already unsaid but known, but if that is the case I’m not sure that DADT is the real issue.