Potential Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy Repeal

Congress is considering repealing the military's discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy. At present the bill (The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1246)) is in committee with 136 cosponsors.

In the past fourteen years Don't Ask, Don't Tell has done a great deal of harm, not only to the military but to the country and individual servicepeople as well. These numbers are nothing to be proud of:

Since 1993, the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law has cost American taxpayers more than $364 million. An average of two service members are dismissed under the law every day. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nearly 800 people with skills deemed'mission-critical' by the Pentagon have been dismissed under the law, including more than 322 language experts, at least 58 of whom specialized in Arabic.

What's especially interesting to me is that fourteen years of debate about this policy have gone on without homosexual service members being able to weigh in; Don't Ask, Don't Tell applies to any and all communications. Gay and lesbian service members who out themselves, even to provide context for their thoughts on policies that directly affect them, can be discharged. It's an unjust and silencing catch-22.

Wikipedia goes into more detail about this policy. Let's hope this bill gets past committee and Don't Ask, Don't Tell is outed as the hateful policy it always has been.


I'm not a teenager and haven't been for some years. But as a member of the military community I felt compelled to make a comment on the article regarding the don't ask don't tell policy. The reason the policy is so strictly enforced is as a layer of protection for homosexual members. There are two main reason. 1. You can't let people who might potentially be attracted to each other serve together in a battle situation. That's the same reason why men and women are not bunked together. Because it presents problems. That same dynamic exists when you have two men or two women who are likely to be attracted to each other. Lives can be lost when distraction becomes a factor. And what's more distracting, let's be honest, than sexual attraction. 2. Many members of the military, like any place that typically attracts overtly masculine men, are at least mildly homophobic and would be very unreceptive to having to shower or interact in a bedroom setting with someone they knew could potentially find them attractive. And, like most overtly masculine men (read manly jerks) there's a very good chance they could react to that fear with violence. So it's safer for all involved if no one knows.

I know that many people believe its prejudice that creates these rules but the fact is in such a tight, enforced situation any talk of sexuality is discouraged and often punished even in heterosexual situation.

The previous comment perfectly sums up the reasons for this law.

I was in the military myself, and many people I met were homosexual. They kept it quite for the most part, but every one of them considered the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy to be a good thing. They never had a problem keeping such a secret from ranking officers, who are really the only ones it must be kept from. Due to the wording of the law, if a soldier told their bunkmate they were gay and the bunkmate told the commander, nothing could be done to the soldier because if the commander asked about it, he would be dismissed. The amount of people dismissed due to the policy is misleading, most of those people are not homosexuals and just want an easy way out of the military. I met many people while I was on duty who were straight, some even actively seeking partners of the opposite sex, who used the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy as a "get out of jail free" card.

So the appropriate response to homophobia is to punish gays for the prejudices of others? Really?

You know how many rednecks are in the army, maybe we should discharge black soldiers, I mean, racism has been shown to be a huge issue in American society. You know how many sexist bastards there are, maybe women shouldn't be allowed either. Hell, why do we even allow people into the country who others are prejudiced against?

This "logic" is absurd.

Gay people know about coming out, about safe situations and unsafe situations. They know about it because they've been negotiating the trade off between "in" and "out" since they were teenagers.