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Harvard Is Letting ROTC Back On Campus (As Soon As Fabulous Gay Cadets Can Join)

It only took 40 years and a Supreme Court justice nomination distraction, but Harvard University is bringing back the Reserve Officer Training Corps’ recruiters. Having been banned during the Vietnam War and kept away when Congress signed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law, Harvard and other top schools like Stanford and Yale blocked military recruiters from their campus. But Harvard is the first to rescind the ban: The school’s president Drew Gilpin Faust and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will sign a new agreement that has Harvard agreeing to offer office space and funding to ROTC, although enrolled students will train not on the Cambridge campus but at nearby MIT. And all it took was an act of Congress! (Harvard’s formal recognition of ROTC will only kick in once DADT’s repeal is certified later this year.) So much publicity over such a small group of people: only 20 Harvard students are currently ROTC cadets. [photo via]

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  • TogetherColumbia

    Except that the military still bans gay sex (or other forms of sodomy) and transgender servicemembers, even with the repeal of DADT. FAIL.

  • kernelt

    it’s nice to know that college like these support peace, freedom and equality as well as other great attribute of modern civilization.

  • Red Meat

    Does it matter that its only 20 students? Most organizations in college start out even smaller.

  • Kent M

    That picture looks more like ASL than a salute; in which case, what’s he saying? Anybody?

  • Shannon1981

    I didn’t know these schools had banned ROTC! Good on them for standing up for what is right.

  • John

    Good. It’s about damned time.

  • Schteve

    No, it’s not about time.

    Read the first comment. The military still bans transgendered individuals from serving as it considers gender identity disorder a mental illness. By bringing ROTC back, Harvard will actually be violating its own nondiscrimination policy that includes gender identity. This is entirely hypocritical since their reason for keeping ROTC away during DADT was that it violated their nondiscrimination policy on sexual orientation.

  • Jeffree

    DADT was about sexual orientation, not gender identity, so repeal has no effect on Trans people. Policies re: T issues are covered under separate regs.

    So Harvard is keeping with their anti-discrim policy for LGBs, not Ts. It’s a step in the right direction for us cis-gender people who might want 2 join the military, but Trans-folk aren’t allowed that option in the US forces,.

  • Shannon1981

    See, one thing I am not clear on, and anyone here who is trans, please help. Is this considered a mental illness under the law? If it is, it shouldn’t be, because all the trans people I know are perfectly sane. Also, they have provided me with a wealth of knowledge about something I really don’t understand, beyond being a pretty butch/almost genderqueer lesbian. Why is it an illness? There are days when I want to bind and pack and go out looking like a dude, and I do. Does that make me crazy in the eyes of the law? If it does, its the law that is crazy, not me.

    Anyone of sound mind and body who wants to be in ROTC or join the military should be able to do so, period. End of discussion.

  • Schteve

    Of course there’s no law classifying transgender status as such. It’s a military policy that considers it a disorder (meaning it could be gone with one word from Obama, but that would likely lead to Congress implementing it in law instead).

    It’s listed as a disorder in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. They will be voting to update its definition around next year, though, and rumors are it will be removed then. Until then, institutions like the military can always point to that for justification.

  • D Smith

    @Shannon1981: they consider it a mental illness because it has a diagnostic category in the DSM-4, in the DSM-5 which is supposedly due in 2012 the diagnosis will be changed to Gender Incongruence, which in addition to still being considered a mental illness contains an exit clause… allowing a Trans-person to be no longer considered mentally ill after a MEDICAL TREATMENT… so yea… just a touch inconsistent.

  • Shannon1981

    @D Smith: I get the legalese of it all, and thanks for the explanation, but saying someone is mentally ill because of gender identity is just wrong to me. I know too many trans people who are just fine mentally to ever believe that “mental illness” and all the stigmas that come along with that are fair to them.

  • Denise

    They should ban transgendered people unless and until it is demonstrated that GID is not a mental disorder and that entry of GID sufferers would not impact retention, morale, and unit cohesion. Those are exactly the standards to which gay soldiers were held, and transgendereds don’t get a free pass.

    More importantly, gay people should make clear that gay is entirely different from trans, even if the morons who promote LGBT try to persuade us otherwise.

  • Zoe Brain

    @D Smith: Army Regulation 40–501 is the one that defines Transsexuality etc.

    It uses the World Health Organisation’s diagnostic codes, not the DSM.

    BUT – it uses the ICD-9 manual from 1977, superseded in 1992 by the ICD-10. They didn’t update the regulation though. Why?

    Homosexuality is listed in the ICD-9 under code 302.0 as a mental illness, a “psychosexual condition”. It doesn’t appear in the ICD-10, and they couldn’t have that.

  • John

    @Schteve: Irrelevant. Harvard banned ROTC not because of DADT but instead due to opposition to the Vietnam War 40 years ago. DADT just became the convenient excuse once the original reason went out-of-style. For some there will always be some reason why ROTC can’t return to universities like Harvard, even though these a-holes benefit from public taxes. Enough. Pick some other way to make a stand.

Comments are closed.