Alex Blaze

Protect the sanctity of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 20, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gays in the military, iraq, lesbian, military, policy, war

Maybe the folks working to end DADT ought to draw attention to the folks who abuse DADT. This is from a lesbian in the military:

Looking for a way out of the service isn't a new idea. Since 9/11, soldiers have been going to extraordinary measures to find the quickest way out of a deployment including intentional pregnancies and cutting off fingers. Hell, my unit's chaplain (who was gay, by the way) went AWOL! He ran away with his lover to Canada the night before we left for Iraq. That's a nice morale booster for the soldiers.

During my time in the Army, a large percentage of the DADT investigations were caused by straight soldiers playing the homosexual card to get out of going overseas. These guys would go to the extreme, staging photographs and videos of themselves with other men, or maybe even making out in front of their commander. They were using DADT as a potential free ticket out of a deployment.

Last year I was talking to a single, straight man in the military who was complaining that he got deployed three times more than other officers in his unit because he was single and didn't feel like coming up with an excuse to get out of something he signed up to do. There was still bitterness, though, towards women he said would start a family to get out of deployment, married men who would say that their wives had "mental health issues" that could never be diagnosed so they needed to stay home and care for them, an officer who herself developed a series of undiagnosable maladies, preferential treatment to folks with "families," and colonels sending assignments they were more qualified for down the chain of command.

All because, deep down inside, many people who join the military really don't want to go to war.

Personally, I don't have much sympathy for folks who signed up for the military post-Iraq but don't want to be deployed. They knew what they were getting into. The war in Iraq wasn't a secret operation. Sure, with unemployment rising for young people to astronomical levels, the military might be their only option, but if someone's taking a discharge over a deployment, then they don't really think they need the job.

That said, that doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of people looking for a way out of a deployment when reality comes crashing down on them that they might actually have to go fight in a war. The recruiting officer might have told them that there's a base a couple miles out of town, and, after bootcamp, who knows, maybe they'll be stationed there. They'll be able to visit their high school friends after work and their aunts every other month. Joining the military is no big deal, and, besides, who else is going to give someone with no experience, no marketable skills, a high school education, and possibly a criminal record a full-time job with health care in this economy?

Unlike other assured discharges, you don't have to really break the law to get out under DADT. You don't have to risk prison time or hurt someone or get a criminal record. If anything, when people ask you why you got discharged, you'll probably just get sympathy.

And, unlike an actual mental or physical illness, a doctor is never going to be able to tell that you're not really gay. You say you like people of the same sex? Who am I to say no?

It'd be another argument to get rid of the policy, one that goes past those that are sympathetic ("DADT discriminates against LGB soldiers and takes away their jobs") and those that play into America's fetishization of the military ("Gay soldiers should be allowed into the sacred institution of the military because they can serve the country with honor") and goes straight to the interests of the people in charge of the military.

A friend of mine years ago predicted that DADT would be repealed when they couldn't find enough people to go to Iraq, but the military has been facing recruitment shortages for years (not this year, though! Thank you, Gramm-Leach-Blily Act) and Congress is just starting to show signs of wanting to repeal the ban.

But what if stories of people faking being gay to get discharged were publicized? Instead of talking about gay and lesbian soldiers defiling the purity of the military or a discriminatory policy defiling America's aspiration to be a nation of tolerance and equality, the narrative would become that of dishonest soldiers defiling the sanctity of DADT for personal gain.

At least it speaks to the interests of those in power. They obviously don't mind losing a few queers, but if the fact that it's already a "get out of the military" free card because it doesn't leave people unemployable anymore became better known, it might change minds.


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The thing is, this angle will never get mainstream coverage because abuse of DADT serves the needs of straight people. Just like how "sanctity of marriage" types never challenge drive-thru weddings in Las Vegas or marriages performed purely to gain citizenship. What is sacred to them is whatever serves their hypocritical notions of innate superiority.

In 1970, my draft number was low, so I knew I would be drafted. To avoid going into the Army, and then to Vietnam, I joined the Navy, and to further my safety, I signed up for the Naval Nuclear Power program to be sent to submarines.

There are so many ways to join the military and not get shot at. My father was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and was on a remote base during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. My oldest son was a welder in the Marines and even though he did two tours in Iraq, he never had to shoot his M-16 at anyone or get shot at. He didn't even see any wounded Marines.

If you are not a Corpsman in the Navy, then practically every other job in the Navy is safe. The Air Force has people over there, but for the most part, that is also a safe service. There are many safe jobs in the Army and the Marines, too. You need to do your research on which job to apply for.

There are 1.8 million Americans in the military, with 68,000 in Afghanistan and 124,000 in Iraq. This means that 81% of the US military is safe. The number is really a lot higher if you just factor the actual troops in combat at this moment.

Sorry. I meant t say, "89%" are safe.

Fascinating angle.
Are you reading this Anderson Cooper?

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | November 20, 2009 8:12 PM

The ability of some people to touch-type while unable to see the keyboard because their heads are stuck up their own asses never ceases to amaze me. But please send Cirque du Soleil "former lesbian soldier" JT Blatty's contact information toute suite.

Golly gee, Miss Jane, where to start? How does one untangle Blatty's cluster fuck of hearsay and histrionics that Elaine Donnelly could have written and WILL soon be quoting I guarantee you. E.g.,

"During a deployment to Iraq, a group of lesbians were engaging in sexual acts in a tent. ... These women were having sexual relations in full view of the straight, female soldiers...."

I encourage everyone to hold your nose and check out Blatty's entire pile of steaming crap...er read the entire article at

http://www.ourscenetv.com/articles/wtf-is-the-big-deal-with-dont-ask-dont-tell

And, I encourage olfactory-challenged Alex to not let his obsession about the military again cloud his judgment in giving credence to cretins.

"Abuse of DADT"? That's like writing "abuse of rape."

Here are some of Blatty’s other pearls of undocumented wisdom. Are hallucinations a symptom of SWINE flu? MEDIC!!!

“DADT is not a homosexual witch-hunt.” — Except, of course, when it is. Duh.

“it’s really not that big of a deal” — Maybe it’s the intoxicating stench wafting around her, but she thinks she’s proven this ineffably inane claim by stating [correctly] that the UCMJ’s anti [gay or straight] sodomy statute is now rarely applied as if that’s some kind of reason to ignore her own acknowledgement that 13,500 gay servicemembers have been discharged under DADT [and are likely to disagree].

“[DADT just] need[s] amending” — She doesn’t suggest how, but who should give a flying fuck about such a suggestion anyway? Donnelly again? John McShame? Lindsey Anne Graham? Fred Phelps?

“[DADT is a part of the UCMJ]”. — Uh, no, it’s not.

“the truth is, there needs to be some hard evidence to actually get you kicked out. I’m talking something along the lines of a very descriptive, pornographic video. Even that might not be enough.” — Uh, no, Sweetie, there doesn’t.

“to violate DADT [it took those four women in Iraq] screwing right in front of their peers (and probably their supervisors) in a combat zone” — This is so imbecilic, I trust no one needs my comment. [But if you have tapes of Dan Choi and Victor Fehrenbach doin’ it on Rachel Maddow’s show, write me.]

“During my time in the Army, a large percentage of the DADT investigations were caused by straight soldiers playing the homosexual card to get out of going overseas. These guys would go to the extreme, staging photographs and videos of themselves with other men, or maybe even making out in front of their commander.” — One would assume that Blatty Cathy worked in the Army Judge Advocate General’s office to make such an assertion. But she offers no documentation. And even if she did, it would be irrelevant to the injustice of DADT to gay servicemembers.

There’s a lot more of her drool to mop up but we’ll close with this:

“The military has parades, but it isn’t a place to parade around our sex lives, gay or straight, so if we sign up to serve, it’s not hard to live as a happy gay man or woman when the workday is over. Just don’t have sex on the conference room table, and no packing before PT. Is it that hard?” — Horseshit, of course, not to mention totally misrepresentative of what DADT demands which is not just that one doesn’t “parade around our sex lives” but not to TELL a LIVING SOUL. It doesn’t demand that we have sex in private but that we be celibate mutes, closeted to EVERYONE in our lives not just the military.

What is hard is to understand is why the original site chose to publish such inherently anti gay equality nonsense even if they agree with her real agenda which is to push the fight for marriage equality over anything else.

Shame.

Um…. Ok, I’ve got 20 years experience in the Navy. I’ve seen firsthand personnel use the “I’m gay/lesbian and I want out now.” who I knew were neither. This was before Iraq or Afghanistan. Typically it was people who joined thinking it would be fun or they were gonna live a life of high adventure or get to be like Tom Cruise or the like only to find out that being in the military means hard work every day.

Since about 2002 when a gay or lesbian sailor would come up under DADT for any reason the CO I had did everything he could to keep the person in. He knew that DADT was B.S. and it hurt far more than helped. Those that wanted out he made them work to get discharged. I do hear more and more are not being processed out in a timely manner. That its taking nearly a year and not the old standard of 30 days to discharge someone under it. They’re dragging their feet not to discharge people they know they cannot replace quickly.

This month I had a person I support discharged from the Army. While gay and lesbians are discharged under DADT, transgender personnel are medically discharged as being psychologically unfit for service. It’s taken nearly a year for the process to complete her discharge. Her therapist determined well over a year ago that she was unfit for further service but her command just couldn’t afford to lose a trained body.

…and yet. Out of the 8 trans people that I have supported and mentored as they’ve exited the military one turned out not to be trans. That person couldn’t help but gloat that they had out foxed the system.

Currently a person in the military cannot simply quit because they are unhappy about the situation. The only venue that they’ve been able to use up till now is to say that they are gay/lesbian. Now that being gay/lesbian is becoming less likely to exit a person from the military being trans will start to increase.

They really need to do 3 things.
*Repeal DADT and allow gay and lesbian military members to serve with all rights and privileges.
*Repeal the antiquated regulations banning transgender and intersex personnel from serving and approving medical treatment of those individuals that require and extend all rights and privileges to them as well.
*Formulate a process for a person that desires to exit the military to make their wants known and a process to implement the exit. Not everyone fits in the military or the military lifestyle. They often simply do not work out for a myriad of reasons. In my opinion and experience, it’s simply better to get them out so someone who wants in can come in and do the job.

To address people having sex in the military. Yeah, it happens. I learned in my first command during one watch that heterosexuals having sex in squadron spaces late at night is ok. Even if they get caught it’s ok.

One late night watch I was on, I caught a watch stander having sex with his girlfriend. I wrote him up and told the senior watch stander. That senior person that I told then had his wife come over for ‘lunch’ and the officer on watch with us took his cue from him and had his girlfriend come over for a ‘late nite snack’. The both joked that I better not write them up. I knew I couldn’t write them up without serious repercussions. So, I circular filed the junior watch standers report chit. At that command I dealt with two suicides, 4 accidental deaths at work, 3 serious life changing injuries and 4 crashed aircraft. Life in the military can be short and brutal.

I've always wondered how many soldiers tried to pull a Klinger and pretend to be gay just to get discharged. We'll never see real numbers, but it would be good to get some of those cases out there.

Sadly, how do you prove it though? Just because I like guys in Iraq doesn't mean I can't like girls at home. Bisexuality will get you kicked out of the service just as quickly as homosexuality; The Army has no use for the Kinsey Scale.

Until straight servicemembers are willing to stand up and say, "I lied to get the fuck out," there won't be any way to conclusively prove it. And since they'd land in a world of shit if they did, the chances of someone admitting it would be slim to none.

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | November 21, 2009 3:17 PM

Pre-DADT, it worked for guitar giant and “compulsive womanizer” Jimi Hendrix, according to one biographer. He told people that he was discharged from the Army in 1961 after breaking his ankle in a parachuting exercise. But according to biographer Charles Cross in “Room Full of Mirrors,” Hendrix, “told the base psychiatrist he had sexual fantasies about his bunkmates, grew addicted to masturbating and was in love with a member of his squad.” We note that the Wikipedia Hendrix article disputes this. Credible, or another example of Wikihomophobia?

If true, in a sad irony, it was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where Barry Winchell would be clubbed to death 38-yrs. later simply for being perceived as gay because he was dating someone transgender.