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Just Because It’s A Gay Military Print Magazine Does Not Mean There Are X-Rated Photos Of Hot Soldiers

Well how’s this for poignancy: Just in time for the death of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, gay servicemember group OutServe has launched a print magazine, a medium that’s also headed to the grave. Actually, it’s not quite in print: It’s a PDF file! Seriously! You can “download” it here, and then “print” it using this amazing technology that magically makes words and pictures appear on pieces of paper. This is very confusing for me, because after getting our IT guy to help me with this, I navigated to the table of contents and used my mouse to click on each of the headlines on the page, and nothing happened. “Our goal is to have our next version available in print, at some of the larger military bases,” says OutServe’s pseudonym’d chief JD Smith in a statement. So that’s cool, because with DADT coming to an end, gay troops will be able to carry their copy of the magazine without fearing discharge. (Which, in all seriousness, is a good thing, because there are plenty of active duty servicemembers without laptops or iPads to read a digital version.) Will slipping one of these in your back pocket be the equivalent of carrying a copy of The Economist through the airport?

Though for obvious reasons, readers will want to flip to the back page to check out this ad, which features the magazine’s only skin pics.

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    YES, one accepts that those behind OutServe mean well. But good intentions alone have proven poor matches for DoD homophobia for decades. Their members and our Community need and deserve more than the alternatingly passive and weak-kneed first issue that, in many respects, could have been written by a straight reporter for the Pentagon.


    On its face, the idea of a publicly distributed magazine for gay service members [versus the privately distributed newsletters that began during WWII] is exciting. But the first issue shows little promise for actually advancing full gay equality in the military versus just talking about it.

    The absurd impression they, we hope, unintentionally leave that the explicit ban began in 1982 when it actually dates to 1941 and wrongly attributing the murder of sailor Allen Schindler as the origin of candidate Bill Clinton’s interest in ending that ban, are the least of its problems. Of greatest concern is the perpetuation of the pusillanimous position they’ve repeatedly promoted in various other media—that it’s just hunky dory for the Pentagon to take nearly a year to “implement” repeal when none of 25 other countries that have lifted their ban took more than four months. With friends like OutServe who needs paid Pentagon shills?

    Even the previously too timid, in this regard, SLDN is finally calling foul as the Palm Center did nearly THREE MONTHS ago when its director Aaron Belkin told the “Washington Blade” that:

    “The Pentagon could easily repeal the ban TODAY if there was the POLITICAL will. [Army Chief of Staff Gen. George] Casey in particular is leaving soon and doesn’t want to be known as the Army chief of staff who let gays in on his watch. THE FOOT-DRAGGING IS NOT ABOUT SOME SINCERE OR LEGITIMATE SENSE THAT THE TROOPS NEED TO BE TRAINED ON HOW TO DEAL WITH GAYS; it’s because they don’t want to be around when the policy happens.”
    March 22, 2011, Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director, SLDN — “This training is not rocket science. THE SERVICES CAN GET THIS DONE BY APRIL 30TH. It’s simply taking too long, and it’s time to speed up the process.”
    March 25, 2011. Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich (RET), Cochair, SLDN’s Military Advisory Council, “Stars & Stripes.” — “I am baffled by the length of time that the Army says it is going to take for our soldiers and other personnel to be trained in order for certification to take place and repeal to be enacted. I am embarrassed, because this reflects badly on the senior leadership of the Army. What has taken other countries days and weeks to accomplish — and is taking other branches of the armed services months less to implement — is taking the Army the better part of a year. I have reviewed the training materials being used and, as a retired senior leader, I can say with certainty that there is no legitimate reason it should take until August for training to be completed and certification to take place. SUCH A SCHEDULE WOULD MEAN THAT FULL REPEAL WOULD NOT BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL OCTOBER—10 months after the president signed the repeal legislation. THAT IT WOULD TAKE A MILITARY THAT CAN GO HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD TO UNSEAT A DICTATOR IN 30 DAYS MORE THAN SIX MONTHS TO COMMUNICATE SUCH A SIMPLE SET OF FUNDAMENTAL MORAL PRINCIPLES TO ITS FORCE IS UNACCEPTABLE AND UNNECESSARY.”
    The account of OutServe’s participation, along with several other groups, in a meeting with the Pentagon Repeal Implementation Team [RIT] is even more disheartening as it contains no evidence that OutServe pushed back on the transparently antigay recommendations of the Pentagon Working Group Report that have resulted in a refusal of the DoD to include gay and lesbian service members under the crucial protections of the Military Equal Opportunity Program [MEO] or to extend to gay military couples even those partner benefits the DoD concedes are NOT banned by DOMA such as “military housing.”
    In addition to apparently forgetting that the report specifically recommended AGAINST tracking antigay discrimination, evidenced by their implication that the fact that the Inspector General “currently does not have a plan to tabulate reports of such noncompliance or abuse “ is a some unrelated, independent choice, at the same time in describing that, nota bene, “OTHER stakeholders” brought up the MEO problem, the authors inexcusably parrot the report’s ridiculous and disingenuous assertion that “the whole point of the change in law was that we are all inherently equal, thus complaints should hold no special status.” Excuse me, Children, but if there’s a need for a MEO under which blacks, women, Asians, Latinos, members of various political parties, and all religions INCLUDING Wiccans…all acknowledged by the report as “protected classes”… can file discrimination complaints then where’s the sanity in your singing sickening stanzas of “Kumbaya” about the “DoD’s professionalism and earnest effort to get this

    The closest thing to suggesting “action” in the first issue is the final article, “We Are Change.” But in addition to amplifying the popular myth about Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen into “the pantheon of leading American civil rights heroes,” there is more simple cataloguing options for critical changes still needed than any aggressive attempt to create a movement to force those changes. The author should also be aware that while support from legislators for executive orders from President Obama for MEO-level protections against discrimination and equal partner benefits would be nice, they are neither legally or historically necessary as a supermajority in Congress is needed to overturn Executive Orders and only a couple ever have been.

    Even were both houses still controlled by Democrats, the one person most needing pressure from “professional” gay service member advocates and the Community remains the President. But the most the author can manage to marshal is an embarrassingly meek, “Let’s continue to remind him and Congress of [his] pledge[s],” while totaling and inexplicably ignoring more than two-years of proof that he will do NOTHING for gays in uniform that the Pentagon doesn’t want him to, AND the fact that he is still inexcusably allowing his so-called Department of Justice to continue to fight the pro TOTAL and IMMEDIATE equality rulings in the Log Cabin Republican and Witt cases.

    REPEAT: YES, one accepts that those behind OutServe mean well, but good intentions alone have proven poor matches for DoD homophobia for decades. Their members and our Community need and deserve more.

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