Although I am probably one of the most patriotic people you could ever meet there are actually things that upset me immensely about these United States. Part of the reason I write about things it to prompt thought and effect change on whatever level I can. Don’t ask don’t tell (#DADT) is a policy which prevents members of the gay community from revealing their sexuality in the armed forces. To do this leaves these individuals open to being discriminated against and dishonorably discharged.
Apparently the reason for this is that it would put at risk the high standards of morale, good order and discipline for those who are homosexual who are willing to fight and die for our country to disclose their orientation. It should be called Clintons compromise. Whilst I am sure this was an attempt at equality it fell far short. The only thing that should ever be subject to don’t ask don’t tell is my ever decreasing weight. Don’t ask ‘cause I sure aint gonna tell.
Thugs and convicted felons can serve in the military but your common or garden homosexual cannot. Well technically they can but they are forbidden to be “openly” homosexual. Those who have stood up to this archaic response to an inability to respect human rights and to ensure equality have been treated badly. This actually makes me literally weep to think that people are not afforded the respect they deserve in this day and age.
Lt. Dan Choi came out publicly and was discharge for doing so. He attended a rally in the Capital with comedian Kathy Griffin. He chained himself to the gates of The White House and was arrested for it. Clearly serving in silence was not an option for him and I feel he has paved the way for others to challenge this inequality. I don’t think serving in silence should be an option for anyone. Heterosexuals don’t go to work to be heterosexual they go to work. Do they think gay people are incapable of maintaining professionalism?
On May 27th the house voted to repeal #DADT and it passed by a margin of 229-186. The senate is expected to vote in the fall. I am always astonished that the rights individuals will receive are put to a vote. Yes I know we live in a democracy before I get a million e-mails but surely all rights should be equal? This leaves me scratching my head. Why should you be treated differently under the law because you are gay?
Today I heard about Jarod McIntosh who is being generally discharged from the Navy because they found pictures of him and his boyfriend on his cell phone which they confiscated because he took it on board the USS Wyoming submarine, whilst Jarod admits he made a mistake taking it on board as it was a camera phone. It was passed to base security for scrutiny for classified material of which none was found. They did however find pictures of Jarod and his boyfriend which he wouldn't have wanted anyone else to see.
The next day Jarod was summoned to see the chief of the boat who told him he would be written up under article 92 for failing to obey an order or regulation and was sent home after being advised he would be able to return to work in a couple of days. Two weeks later after hearing nothing he was informed he was getting an “other than honorable discharge” for being gay. He wasn't asked and he didn't tell!
Jared’s Captain was clear about the fact he had no issue with his orientation and was pleased with his service to date but he was following orders from above. He was then removed from the boat and taken to a holding unit to await an administrative separation board in order to get retention or an honorable discharge. Lets face it in most places if you where fired for being gay your employer would be prosecuted.
Both Jarod’s Captain and his chief where present at his hearing and requested he be retained and placed back onto the boat as soon as possible. It was deemed that although bringing the cell phone aboard was not grounds for separation, but being gay was. Lets be clear about this Jarod didn’t out himself evidence from his phone was used in order to obtain the discharge.
A challenge request has been set up and Jarod is waiting to hear from the board responsible. He told me he is continuing to fight for an honorable discharge and if that fails he will be seeking congressional representation to seek redress for this discriminatory action. Lets face it folks if this had been a heterosexual he would have received a slap on the wrist and been told that he should be more careful in future.
I still cannot find out what the unacceptable risk to the military is in repealing don’t ask don’t tell? Heterosexual friends of mine who are gay friendly (whatever that means) and in the services tell me there would be violence against openly gay people in the military and changing things in a time of war is not the right time. When then I ask is the right time for equality? I think it is NOW!
Please do not lets this young mans plight go un-noticed. Please call your Senator and make your views known. Let’s not have the men and women of this country who choose to serve and protect us be discriminated against because they happen to be homosexual. Repeal DON’T ASK DON’T TELL COZ IT DON’T WORK.
Love & Peace Xan
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Xander Gibb has written for many publications and writes with an unapologetic response to the world around.