dropping the soap

SHOCK: Is the Pentagon Seriously Considering Separate (But Equal) Showers for Gay Soldiers?

As we learn the U.S. Senate’s Armed Services Committee is gearing up for next month’s hearings on 1993’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law — where Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of Joint of Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen will testify at Sen. Carl Levin’s request — comes word that the just-leaked memo out of Mullen’s office wasn’t some draft legal opinion, but was actually a working copy of the Pentagon’s official take on whether to repeal the law. Namely, that it’s too soon. But equally as ridiculous as extending the timeline of repeal is the relevation the Defense Department is actually considering a “separate but equal” approach to letting gay men and women serve in the military. That is, they can be out, so long as they shower in different facilities.

You want to talk about a waste of resources, time, and energy in letting gay soldiers serve openly? It’s this, via the NYT:

Despite the uncertainty of timing, another military official said that the Department of Defense was beginning to look at the practical implications of a repeal — for example, whether it would be necessary to change shower facilities and locker rooms because of privacy concerns, whether to ban public displays of affection on military bases and what to do about troops who are stationed or make port calls in nations that outlaw homosexuality.

The only realistic concern we can see is the last one: how to handle soldiers stationed in nations where homosexuality is illegal. (That’s not a problem unique to the military; that’s a problem faced by any visitor to such a nation.)

But what all of this forgets is that America’s military personnel are trained professionals. Yes, there are instances of sexual harassment and assault. That’s terrible, and should be dealt with. But the notion that separate shower and bathing facilities are needed, to keep the heteros at a safe distance from the homos, is an insult to the men and women keeping this country safe. Straight guys have seen dick before; straight women have seen titties. Implementing such a ridiculous separate-but-equal initiative isn’t just prohibitively expensive, but it insinuates being open about one’s sexuality — as straight soldiers have been able to do FOREVER — is akin to making unsolicited sexual advances.

This problem always arises when we’re talking about sexuality, because the powers that be get hung up on the sex part of it all. Imagine if the Pentagon advised the White House to create separate-but-equal facilities for the races, which, uh, was a reality just a few decades ago. Of course that wouldn’t go over. But because gays and lesbians are a “sexual” minority, we get caught up on whether penises go into vaginas or anuses, and that’s not the point at all.


Moreover, there appears to have been another one of these “secret” meetings among Gay Inc. and military groups to discuss DADT repeal strategy, something we haven’t heard much, if anything, about from these organizations. (They refuse to be interviewed on the record.) Among those who sent representatives to HRC’s Washington headquarters on Wednesday: the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Palm Center, Servicemembers United, and the Center for American Progress, according to AmericaBlog.

Not in attendance? Anyone representing an entity knows as “the Obama administration.” But maybe that’s part of HRC’s seven-year plan to give the Obama administration a pass on, you know, doing stuff.