Friday, August 03, 2007

Don't ask, Don't tell in the army

And a court martial. This article outlines the case of a soldier serving in the Honor Guard, known as the Old Guard, who was harassed and then court martialled because his fellow soldiers thought he was gay.

This is an extreme reaction. You should read the article, but right now it brings up things about the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy in me.

Imagine if there was a similar policy about liberals in government. You can be liberal, as long as you don't say that you're liberal, and as long as you don't say anything people don't have the right to demand that you declare whether you're liberal or not. What about race? If you pass for white you can stay as long as you don't tell people you have black blood, and as long as you don't declare it people don't have a right to demand that you tell them.

Don't ask, Don't tell imposes a very familiar closet on gay and bisexual people in the military. You see, many if not most gay and bisexual people already know how to act under a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy because that's what they often live with on a day to day basis. You don't mention you're sexuality, the people in charge will grudgingly accept you. But, because you aren't publicly a member of a minority group you have no protection against people violating the sort of agreement that exists, so you're essentially a sitting duck.

Don't ask, Don't tell does seem very familiar, which is probably why it was put into a law.

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