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Will The DADT Repeal Deprive LGB Soldiers Of A Badly Needed “Get Out Of Jail Free” Card?

Recently, four airmen have voluntarily discharged from the Air Force under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That is, they outed themselves and asked for a speedy discharge despite the imminence of the policy’s repeal. Airman 1st Class Albert Pisani, asked for an expedited discharge because of anti-gay harassment—a supervisor even told Pisani to expect an increase in anti-gay “friendly fire” deaths (presumably from homophobic servicemen) after the repeal gets lifted.

We don’t know the details behind the three most recent discharges, but is it possible that DADT has actually helped some lesbian and gay service members avoid anti-gay harassment and possibly even murder?

You see, military protocol directs service members to report any harassment up the chain of command: first to their commander, then eventually to an Equal Opportunity officer, and then finally to the Inspector General (a figure meant to act outside of the command in case of issues that arise within the chain of command itself).

Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United echoes this sentiment: “The Pentagon has made it abundantly clear that… it is more than willing to deal with any lingering harassment issues through the chain of command or, in the case of command involvement, the base’s or post’s Inspector General’s office.”

But Pisani didn’t want to wait for the EO officer or IG to resolve his issue because he says that the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) program only bars discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, sex, and religion, among other characteristics… NOT sexual orientation. “It’s definitely a flaw,” he said. “This needs to be changed before gay service members can feel safe.”

But according to Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, “There’s no special policy needed to address the things that we’re talking about here with regard to taking care of people and treating them with dignity. That’s so fundamentally basic. So the remedies you have are the remedies that already exist. There’s no need to create new remedies.”

But is Stanley right? Wouldn’t it behoove the military to explicitly add sexual orientation to the protected classes listed in the MEO or would that violate US laws since LGBT identity has not yet attained federal legal recognition as a protected class?

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Jun 28, 2011
Tagged: , , ,
  • 10 Comments
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      Long before DADT, straight and gay servicemembers “outed” themselves to get out of military service, others, of course, did all sorts of other maneuvers, to get out of the service. Do remember, Corporal Klinger, yes a fictional character, but based on personal histories known to the writer.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sans Bitch
      Sans Bitch

      How many men familiar with the dynamics of ALL MALE CULTURE are going to elect to be openly gay in the military? On the fact of it, openly gay in the military sounds like a joke. The play / movie “Streamers” is also fictional, yet it does a very good job of showing how young men from very diverse backgrounds view what “GAY” is.

      I personally can’t wait for DADT to be repealed so the world can see just how many men DON’T elect to be openly gay in the military. From what I’ve read, the majority of people adversely affect by DADT aren’t even MALE. The people discharged the most under DADT are gay females in the military.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      This is idiotic. It’s as ridiculous as asking something like, Was ending slavery bad because at least it was guarenteed employment.

      As for “No. 2 · Sans Bitch”,I have news for you. Many of the folks I know in the military are out to their immediate group and some are out to their commanders. But how nice of you to try to take a gay issue and convert it into a war of the sexes. (Eye Roll)

      Jun 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gay Veteran
      Gay Veteran

      This isn’t really a story. Since the beginning of the military people have been finding ways to get out of their contract early.. once DADT is completely over those GLB soldiers will find other ways to get out early just like their straight peers. It’s not a ‘GLB’ thing but rather a ‘soldier not cut out to serve thing’…

      @Sans Bitch

      Some soldiers will not reveal their sexual orientation just like there are gay soldiers who don’t reveal their sexual orientation at their 9 to 5. The thing us GLB soldiers fought so hard for was to not be penalized for our sexual orientation, most of us could care less about making our sexual orientation known to our entire unit.. but now we can choose to be out to who ever we choose(whether it be 1 person or our entire unit). Trust me some soldiers will choose to be completely out, especially those female soldiers you speak of because believe it or not lesbian soldiers are more accepted in the military(DADT was the main thing holding them back).

      Jun 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      The (actual) repeal of DADT seems incomplete if sexual orientation isn’t included in the harassment policy. If it’s OK to be out, & if more servicemembers choose to come out “at work,” then they should be protected from o.t.j. harassment as well.

      I’m embarassed that I didn’t know this wasn’t included in the repeal. What rock have I been living under? Hmmmm. Rhetorical question, I guess !

      Jun 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • chibukemdenke
      chibukemdenke

      Good post.

      Jun 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DNK
      DNK

      I had someone new in my workcenter who was openly gay and everyone at least seemed okay with it, for the most part, and I wanted to see him succeed, but he got reassigned/kicked when he attempted suicide :/
      Me, I’m remaining in, both the military and the closet, though I plan to get out of both in the next couple years.

      Jun 29, 2011 at 5:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PTBoat
      PTBoat

      They have a “get out of jail free” card. It’s called dishonorable discharge, if they’re lucky. I thought we’re asking for equal rights. Sometimes, there are caveats to being oppressed citizens, just as there are duties associated with becoming full citizens. I’d take the latter any day and have absolutely no pity for those who join for things like elective service and decide to change their minds later just as I have little sympathy for people who enter into a marriage lightly.

      Jun 29, 2011 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PTBoat
      PTBoat

      Don’t know why I wrote caveats which absolutely opposite of what I meant. I was going to go in another direction with that sentence. I meant loopholes or small perks.

      Jun 29, 2011 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sans Bitch
      Sans Bitch

      As a civilian who worked for the Navy, I have zero doubt that very few guys in the US military (who know what the culture is about) are going to elect to be openly gay in the military. What’s the point? You don’t have to be openly gay in the military to f_ck one of your buddies.

      Openly Gay gains you nothing in the US military except maybe a guarantee that you will never get a security clearance above “confidential”

      Jun 29, 2011 at 9:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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