Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Quelle surprise: a federal court in California has enjoined the U.S. military from enforcing its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding homosexuals serving in the US Military.

Personally, I think "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would be a reasonable policy towards the issue if the military added a "Don't Hear" segment to it. Most of the cases of homosexuals being discharged for being homosexuals --- in fact, all the ones I've heard the facts about --- involve denunciations made by people outside the military, or at least people who don't have regular interactions with the individuals being discharged. The most recent case illustrates the general situation: a man's wife left him and took up with a (female) army officer. (Maybe it was Air Force; I don't remember, but I don't think it's a material point.) He wrote an angry letter to the officer's commander, who was obliged under the military's interpretation of the policy to discharge the officer in questions.

The point of the policy, when it was implemented back in the early '90s, was to allow homosexuals to serve, as long as their behaviour didn't interfere with the Service's smooth operation. And let's face it, military people, like almost all of the rest of us (excluding the Taliban-Christian types, who consider everybody else's private matters to be their concern), don't give a rat's ass what somebody does in bed, or the dungeon, or where ever they do it as long as it's private. No, the military's concern --- the military's proper concern ---  is with the kind of mincing, limp-wristed in-your-face gay man, or overly-aggressive crotch-grabbing bull-dyke woman, that gets on people's nerves. 

Even most tolerant people are put off by too much of that exaggerated behaviour. These people flaunt their sexual preferences as if it was a school prize. People should not be forced to work around people who don't understand that sex, and sexuality, is a private matter. The military, like the private sector, needs to have a way to get rid of people that others don't want to work with. 

So if some outsider bitches to the C.O. that so-and-so is queer, the C.O. ought to be able to just ignore the complaint: "Dear X, thank you for bringing the matter to my attention. I will investigate the matter and take appropriate action." Then toss the complaint in the round file where it belongs. If it's not coming from somebody who has to deal with the homosexual in question, it's not a complaint that deserves hearing.

The issue isn't really sexuality; it's behaviour, and it's only public behaviour. The policy needs to recognize that.

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