Quick, everybody, call your lawmakers! Write the White House! Send mental thoughts to Michelle! Whatever you do, don’t let our elected officials or the Pentagon try to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Sure, it discriminates against gay people who happen to be just as skilled as straight soldiers, but if we eliminate the policy the U.S. armed forces will lose one of their great military secrets: homophobic jokes.
“When my family asks what it’s like to be in the Army, I tell them it’s like a 24-hour gay joke.” That’s what one soldier told veteran military reporter Michael Hastings to explain all the punchlines delivered at the expense of GLBTs. Says Hastings: “The homophobia in the military is akin to the homophobia in locker rooms or frat houses. The reason the military won’t allow in gays is the same reason we don’t know what professional athletes are gay. It’s not part of the culture. In this kind of atmosphere, you find the type of language that you get when you isolate a bunch of dudes in testerone [sic] scented quarters. Jokingly, I’ve seen soldiers sit on each others laps, pretend to blow kisses and then some, while continually make sexually suggestive comments to one another.” (Maybe it also explains this?)
So does this mean letting gays serve openly would make everyone feel uneasy because they no longer get to crack jokes? Hmmmm: “The humor is not meant as malicious, I don’t think, and these are on the whole good guys. It’s just what gets joked about. Call it barracks humor, or call it an homoerotic environment.”
It’s not exactly surprising to hear about this type of thing, but we always love to play this simple thought exercise: Replace the word “gay” or “faggot” with any other cultural identity or slur and see how funny those jokes are.