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Politics

September 6, 2009

The Gays in the Military Poll

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I came across this poll on Facebook recently

Should gays be allowed to serve openly in the US Military?

It should be noted that this is a much different question than if gays should be allowed in the military at all (because they are already there) – the difference being if they can serve “openly” or not.

To me this seems like a pretty easy question – if someone feels patriotic and wants to serve their country, we should allow them to do it – their sexual preferences should not be part of the equation.  Although the reader should know my opinion is that of a straight man who has never been in the military, so perhaps there are some parts of this equation that I am not understanding.

From reading the comments on the Facebook poll it seems that the top reasons that people have for keeping gays out of the military (open or not) are as follows:

  1. Belief in a religion that teaches hatred of gays
  2. Belief that being gay is a mental illness
  3. Concern that a gay person would be beaten and/or killed by other enlisted personal
  4. Issues arising from shared showers / sleeping quarters are insurmountable
  5. People hating gays for what seems like no reason at all (upbringing?)
  6. Personal relationships could sour and damage the cohesiveness of a unit

It seems to me that all of these arguments can be easily dismissed as follows :

  1. Religious beliefs are your opinion – they are not fact and should not be forced onto others.
  2. The APA disagrees that homosexuality is a mental illness.
  3. I don’t think the military wants its soldiers to kill its own.  Those who want to beat and kill American servicemen/women should be removed from the military.
  4. I imagine that shared showers / barracks were also an issue when both blacks and women were allowed into the military – we found a way to deal with that – I imagine that we can deal with this too.
  5. If someone’s upbringing or mental state causes them to hate a group of people you have never met… that sounds like a mental disorder which would disqualify someone from serving in the military.
  6. Personal relationships can sour between a man and a woman just as they can between a same-sex couple…  I don’t see homosexuals causing any new problems here.

I also read a few stories that people had posted regarding homosexuals getting caught having sex in showers or in barracks while in the military.  They made me wonder if this were happening because of the environment that the military is currently fostering.  If they could be openly gay, then perhaps they would not have to sneak around and get caught.  Do hetero couples also need to sneak around to have sex – my impression is that they do.

Another posting indicated that women were not allowed in combat units because the problems associated with sexual tension could complicate the unit’s effectiveness in combat.  Perhaps this would also be a good reason to exclude homosexuals from these units as well.  I would also assume that there would be ways to arrange these units so that women and gays could be included and sexual tension would be minimized.

One reason that was not mentioned in any of the comments that I had read (I just thought it up myself), is that the military needs soldiers who will follow orders without thinking or asking questions.  Gays who live their lives openly have had to reject the traditional roles that society has placed on them, they have learned to live and think “outside the box”.

Generally speaking, someone who tends to question traditional thinking and has learned to live differently from most of those around – would probably make a terrible soldier.