I’ve been watching the hearings on the military’s report on the impact of allowing gays to serve openly in the military on CSPAN for the past couple of days. This is the report that collates the results of the survey of active duty military about their feelings on having openly gay people serving beside them. My suspicion is that about 80% of them actually responded with “I don’t give a damn if you’re gay. Just get me home from Afghanistan!”. But I may be projecting my own feelings about how we should treat our military there.
The top military brass have been testifying before the Senate Committee on the Armed Services and the testimony has been pretty interesting. They’re all basically saying that society has changed since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was first passed into law and attitudes toward gay people have changed and it’s time for the military to reflect that change. There’s a whole lot of head-nodding going on as everyone agrees that once you’ve met and worked with gay people and realized that they actually do real work and aren’t just big old sex maniacs who spent every waking second thinking about whose bones they can jump next, it’s pretty easy to move past their sexual preference and just treat them as individuals. The big voice of dissent is Senator John McCain who appears to be determined to be a douche about this by saying that society is wrong, the service members who don’t care if their colleagues are gay are wrong, military leadership is wrong and we need to keep those gay service members in the deepest darkest closet we can find.
Now, CSPAN, for those who don’t watch regularly, fills the time when Congressional proceedings are at a break by opening the phone lines to regular citizens who have opinions about the issue at hand. That is usually a parade of crazy because the only people who watch CSPAN are Beltway nerds like me who are doing it for work and aren’t allowed to call in and vomit opinions everywhere or crazy people who like to vomit opinions.
One such caller yesterday was a man who was near tears over the idea that his two active-duty military sons might have to get over their opinion that homosexuality is “abnormal sexuality” (his words, not mine) and accept homosexual behavior within their ranks.
Can you imagine? These fine, upstanding service members might have to bury an intrinsic part of their emotional make-up and not let anyone know that they’re giant bigoted homophobes while they’re at work? They’ll have to shove their real selves into a…gosh, what should we call it…how about…a closet. They’ll have to tiptoe around their true feelings for fear of professional punishment. That? Would be tragic if it didn’t seem to me like just desserts.
It’s about damn time that homophobes had to keep it to themselves and homosexuals got to go about their business unafraid of discrimination. Because, and I cannot state this strongly enough, homosexuality is a not a choice. Homophobia is. And choosing to be prejudiced is the thing that is wrong. Being an individual who serves in the military and also happens to be attracted to people of the same gender is not wrong.
I hope the Senate passes the same bill the House did and does away with discrimination in our military. I also hope we bring our armed forces home quickly and safely. Because the best thing we can do for service members is to keep them alive and whole, mentally, physically, and emotionally.