invisibility cloak

The Pentagon Won’t Count How Many Homogays Are Fighting Terrorists. What A Terrible Idea

Even after Obama-Gates-Mullen certify the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the law dies sixty days later, the Pentagon won’t start counting how many homosexuals are joining the ranks, nor will it try to figure out how many of you are already enlisted. While the military can still legally discriminate against gay servicemembers, sexuality will, officially, be considered “a personal and private matter.” Which means even any attempt to start a tally on straights and gays will be forbidden. (The only exception? “[W]hen it is an essential part of an otherwise appropriate investigation or other official action,” according to Clifford L. Stanley, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who’s handling the post-repeal process.) Why such a big deal? Because this is the one time the military won’t be collecting such “personal and private” details; it already counts which troops subscribe to which religious beliefs, whether they’re married, and what percentage has a penis between his legs. So should we be glad the Pentagon wants to stay out of our personal matters? Nope.

Not when it means the Defense Department will, on purpose, collect zero data about how many servicemembers it is denying same-sex partner benefits to. And housing allowances. And travel assistance. Those are the very fundamental figures we need to be able to make the case that the military’s policies still discriminate against a vast number of brave Americans.

Instead of adding a checkbox to personnel forms, or conducting an anonymous questionnaire, the Pentagon wants to be completely blind to sexual orientation. Which on the face of it, is a good thing — because sexuality, like race and sex, shouldn’t be a factor in personnel matters like promotions. Unlike race and sex, sexuality is something harder to track without asking the right questions. And without those questions, we’ll have no idea if, say, the Marines appear to be purposefully keeping gay and lesbian servicemembers from high-ranking jobs. If the data were collected, a simple glance at an Excel spreadsheet would tell wonders.

All this, from a government agency that spent more than $4 million asking servicemembers (and their families) whether they’d be able to live knowing their comrades are gays. Yet not a penny will be spent to learn, in the weeks and months and years after DADT dies, if gay and lesbian troops are doing okay.

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  • Hyhybt

    It’s hard to track even WITH the right questions; too many people will lie, and too many haven’t come to terms with it themselves.

  • peter

    while i’m not in favor of DADT, i question the materiality of disclosing one way or another. sexual orientation is part of one’s character, but too many gays fall into the trap of allowing it to define it. i’m gay, therefore . . .

    i know a few gay marines, including one who’s career and has been in the corps for nearly two decades. he said when he first enlisted at the time of gulf war I, he was still figuring things out. he felt compelled to bring beard dates to official events, but after a time he realized that everyone had ‘done the math’. he loves his job, is a real patriot, and doesn’t think his sexual orientation has impacted his career at all.

    the other marines i know say basically the same thing. one suggested that as many as 1/5 of marines are gay. i wouldn’t be surprised if that proved to be the case.

  • Francis

    Well, the truth is, regardless if they did report, which they SHOULD do, most LGB troops said they aren’t coming out and don’t feel any extra incentive in coming out b/c of DADT repeal. So, even asking these questions is sort of a waste for that reason alone, not because of the idea behind it, but because most either are straight, or will lie and say straight.

  • Rory

    I remember well the day I checked the “not homosexual” box — that was 1968. It was with trepidation then and I’m quite sure that I’d have some of the same misgivings today if I had to choose from a list of sexual preferences. Even though I am an out and proud homosexual American, I wouldn’t want to categorize myself beyond SEX, RACE, MARITAL STATUS and perhaps RELIGION. When marriage is open to all, I would be pleased to check “MARRIED” so I and my spouse would receive the appropriate benefits. But until then I would want to be known as a loyal, hard-working man.

    And, as a former Marine, I second the suggestion that, as with most bastions of masculinity, there is an abundance of manly attraction going on.

  • [email protected]

    BRAVO QUEERTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As I’ve written in other threads, this is a HUGE issue that is NOT diminished by the variables about how many would still lie or not have accepted or figured out they’re gay.


    For over two centuries, at least since March 14th, 1778, when, upon the approval of Gen. George Washington, Lt. Frederick Enslin was literally drummed out of the Revolutionary Army for “attempting to commit sodomy,” our military has abused gays. And we don’t have to go back that far, or even the “queer stockades” and military hospitalization during WWII or to the Reagan years when almost the same number were kicked out during his eight years in office as there were during SIXTEEN years of DADT to get that simply sitting on our asses and trusting that they’re suddenly going to change even after “repeal” is actually implemented is ridiculous.

    We need only look at the results of the 2004 Palm Center study about how the military failed to obey the “Don’t Harass” part of “Don’t Ask, Tell, Pursue, Harass.”

    “The military has created a two-class system with gay and lesbian service members in the second class. For example, the Pentagon’s ban on racial harassment includes a broader mandate against race discrimination. And, the ban on race discrimination is reinforced by several provisions, which include the Department of Defense (DoD) Human Goals Charter 1 and the DoD Equal Opportunity Directive. ‘These provisions do not treat racial harassment and race discrimination separately; rather, racial harassment is considered a form of prohibited race discrimination’, wrote [the study’s author]. The military’s ban on harassment of gay and lesbian officers, however, is not ‘codified’….”

    But, now, the OFFICIAL recommendation of the Pentagon Working Group report is that, emphasis theirs:

    “We do NOT recommend that sexual orientation be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, as a class eligible for various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program.”

    And they justify that using language that unequivocally parrots what they must have heard from the SEVEN different antigay groups they incomprehensibly and indefensibly met with:

    “doing so could produce a sense…that gay men and lesbians are being elevated to a special status as a “protected class” and will receive special treatment.”

    Did Truman meet with members of the KKK when considering his military racial integration order?

    They disingenuously insist that, emphasis mine:

    “Complaints regarding discrimination, harassment, or abuse based on sexual orientation can be dealt with THROUGH EXISTING MECHANISMS—primarily the CHAIN OF COMMAND—available for complaints not involving race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.”

    SLDN said in response to that Palm Center report: “There is no available avenue for service members who would typically report discrimination [based on sexual orientation] through an equal opportunity office. … In reality when a service member does report it through the chain of command it is rarely taken seriously. There’s no consequence for commanders who ignore anti-gay harassment. The environment has created second-class citizenship for gay and lesbian service members and it permeates all military.”

    Note, again, the Report recommends against even TRACKING—not just how many gays are in the military but keeping numbers on patterns of any kind of discrimination including harassment. Without measurement of how MUCH of a problem there is, WHY should we imagine them to take seriously FIXING it?

    We mustn’t make the mistake that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara did in response to a 1963 report on treatment of blacks WITHIN the military, YEARS after integration itself was mostly enforced, that he commissioned under the President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in the Armed Forces:

    “I was naive enough in those days to think that all I had to do was show my people that a problem existed, tell them to work on it, and that they would then attack the problem. It turned out of course that not a goddamn thing happened.”

    The passage of the bill making repeal possible was historic progress—but it only happened because of proactive pressure from OUTSIDE of government—and still took at least a year longer than necessary because, contrary to his own promises, “the Obama team” surrendered TOTAL control of the subject to the Pentagon. It was a huge mistake that the Community allowed them to get away with that—needlessly costing the careers of hundreds of gay service members, tens of thousands more STILL serving in silence and fear.

    WHY isn’t SLDN and other groups demanding that gays be included along with blacks and women and, yes, Wiccans, in protections under the Military Equal Opportunity program? Without that, a kind of gay version of the infamous “Jim Crow Army” is certain to happen.


  • phil

    Michael, are you aware that Baron von Steuben, who came to America to assist the revolution, was gay? Von Steuben’s Prussian training transformed the Continental Army from seasonal rag-tag militia into a disciplined fighting force capable of fighting and beating British Regulars. It has been suggested that the young von Steuben was one of Frederick the Great’s lovers (also gay).

    But I still question the materiality of disclosing sexual orientation on the application. As the late Barry Goldwater said when DADT first surfaced back in 1993 “the only thing that matters is if they can shoot straight!”

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