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Omnia sunt Communia

Homosexuality in the US Army

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Omnia sunt Communia

I read this article in The Guardian on Monday and found it to be quite saddening:

 

 

Don't ask, don't tell: gay veteran of Iraq takes on US army

Dan Choi is challenging the policy that bars him from being open about his sexuality

 

On paper, Dan Choi is everything the US military could have hoped for. He is a graduate of the prestigious West Point academy, has served a tour in Iraq, and is fluent in Arabic and Korean.

 

But despite his talents and experience, the army is seeking to get rid of Choi because of another personal quality it considers incompatible with military life: Choi is openly gay.

 

In one of the last instances of government-sanctioned discrimination in America, the United States military allows gay men and lesbians to serve in the military only if they keep quiet about their sexuality. For more than a year after meeting his boyfriend and falling in love, Choi was forced to lie or risk joining a long list of almost 13,000 gay and lesbian personnel discharged in the past 16 years under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

 

"What if I deploy and he can't come to the tarmac to wish me goodbye," he asked himself, "or kiss me when I come back?" If he were to fall in combat, to whom would the army present the flag that draped his coffin?

 

"I started my first relationship ever in life at age 27," Choi said. "I'm understanding finally what love is. I have to make the decision: am I going to continue lying?"

 

This winter, Choi decided the answer was no. In March he announced on television that he is a gay soldier. The military responded with a terse letter informing him he would be charged with violating army regulations. Choi faces a disciplinary panel tomorrow.

 

"Specifically, you admitted publicly that you are a homosexual," the letter read. "Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard."

 

"It's an insult to their professionalism," Choi said of the insinuation that his fellow soldiers cannot abide a gay comrade. "They care about what a person can do for the team. We're in a time of war. We have bigger things to worry about than people being gay."

 

The discharge of thousands of people from the military because of their sexuality over the past 16 years has generated strong criticism that it is diminishing US military strength at a time when the country can hardly afford it.

 

The Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns make onerous demands on manpower, and relations remain tense with Iran and North Korea. But the army has discharged 59 gay Arabic linguists and nine gay Farsi linguists in the last five years, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network. Britain, Israel and dozens of other countries allow gay personnel to serve openly.

 

Aside from its impact on military readiness, Choi's story tells of the policy's personal toll on dedicated soldiers like him, who are forced to conceal the relationships that keep them going through long hours of training and combat and give them something to fight for.

 

"To me it was like being back in Iraq," he said recently. "You're always looking around to see who can see you."

 

Choi, 28, served as an infantry officer, translator and language instructor in Iraq in 2006 and 2007. He looked forward to redeploying to Iraq, but his life took a profound turn in January 2008 when, during a furtive, curious visit to a gay nightclub in New York City, he met Matthew Kinsey, a 45-year old executive at Gucci. The two men had their first date soon after, at an Italian restaurant in New York City. Choi arrived in uniform.

 

Over the coming months the two grew close. Through Choi's strict upbringing in a religious immigrant household and his years in the military, he had never lived openly as a gay man. Kinsey helped him through the experience.

 

"He's dealing with things I dealt with in college," Kinsey said, "in an environment where you can't be who you are.'"

 

Choi delighted in his long-overdue emotional awakening.

 

"I look at Matthew," he said, "and I think everybody should have this. The whole world makes sense to me."

 

In between his weekend jaunts to New York City, Choi's comrades back at the base wondered why he was suddenly so cheery. Choi was inexperienced in romance, and sought advice on gift ideas for the lover he called "Martha" (should he buy her chocolates? Jewellery?). But the deceit took its toll.

 

"It was too much lying every day," he said. "It takes an incredible amount of energy to keep up the lie. Every time I wanted to talk about it, I'd have to make sure not to use the wrong pronoun."

 

So Choi left the army, moved to New York City and signed up in a part-time position with a military unit controlled by the state of New York, but one that could deploy to Iraq. In March, he announced his sexuality on a cable television chat show.

 

Soon after coming out, Choi returned to base for a weekend training session, where he directed live-fire exercises. To his surprise the men had no unkind words for him, and those who approached him at a bar on base one evening praised his courage and trust in them. He says they told him they cared less about his sexuality and more about the "capabilities you bring to the fight".

 

If he concedes the charge, Choi will probably be offered an honourable discharge, albeit one that states he was expelled for being gay, he said. But he says he intends to fight and if he loses, he risks forfeiting pension and health benefits and other financial advantages offered to American vets.

 

As he prepared for his hearing he took part in gay rights demonstrations and met members of Congress to advocate an end to the ban on openly gay soldiers.

 

"They have a hard enough job as it is, so why would you force them into the closet?" he asks. "Family makes a better soldier."

 

Why is it that in our modern society, a major campaigner for human-rights can still get away with such blatant discrimination? Thousands have soldiers have been dismissed because they chose to be open about their sexuality. How does America get away with such an act?

 

Do you think that it's fair that America can get away with blatant homophobia while "protecting" the rights of various groups across the globe?

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trickstar34

My question is why are people from EU so errigant towards the US? It's just strange, we never did anything to you, we own all the businesses, so why do you hate us so much?

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Omnia sunt Communia
My question is why are people from EU so errigant towards the US? It's just strange, we never did anything to you, we own all the businesses, so why do you hate us so much?

Where did anyone mention the fact that they "hate" the United States? I'm simply asking why America should be allowed to get away with blatant homophobia such as this, when they're going around the globe campaigning about human rights and putting themselves at the bottom of the list when it comes to human rights violations? Seems a little hypocritical to me.

 

America is only one of a very small number of modern democracies that disallow openly gay servicemen in their armed forces. It seems a little strange when they do this and then go about talking down every other country in their world for their human rights violations.

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trickstar34

Whatever you don't give up, I'll give the dog his bone and leave it at that.

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Breaking Bohan

The army needs all the people they can get - who cares what they do in personal life so long as it doen't hinder their ability to kill the enemy w/out mercy.

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Mike Tequeli
Whatever you don't give up, I'll give the dog his bone and leave it at that.

You haven't argued anything. Where do you stand on the issue being discussed?

 

 

What I don't get is it isn't even politically popular, most Americans want to end this policy.

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Oxidizer

I'm torn. On one hand, it can be seen as being discriminating. But on the other, having known gay or bi dudes amongst a bunch of [straight] alpha males is like setting a cat among the pigeons. What if the straight military personnel are secretly homophobic or whatever? That could have a number of disaterous and dare I say fatal ramifications when in combat. So from that perspective I can understand the need to keep it quite (as a precaution). That and I don't see why people need to advertise their orientation anyway, gay or straight; especially in the army.

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Omnia sunt Communia

It's not so much about being allowed to "advertise" their sexuality - they're not asking for pink uniforms and rainbow camoflauge - it's about being able to be open and truthful about their sexual orientation. Homosexual soldiers cannot admit to being homosexual without fear of dismissal. That can lead to severe psychological problems, which in turn, might affect their performance on the battlefield.

 

As for the fear of homophobic soldiers using it as a cue card - I think that's a problem that needs to be tackled when it arises. There are already soldiers from different countries, races, religions, beliefs and whatnot in the American army; I don't see why homosexuality shouldn't be allowed as well. I'd rather see homophobic soldiers who insult or assault their fellow soldiers be dismissed as opposed to homosexual soldiers who might of done little to nothing to upset their comrades.

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Saggy

 

My question is why are people from EU so errigant towards the US? It's just strange, we never did anything to you, we own all the businesses, so why do you hate us so much?

 

Whatever you don't give up, I'll give the dog his bone and leave it at that.

 

Shut the f*ck up and pay attention to the topic at hand you imbecile; better yet just the get the f*ck out of D&D, I'm tired of wanting to shove my face every time I read one of your posts. Just because he happens to attribute the problem to America and not its military doesn't mean you should just ignore the entire subject of discussion.

 

 

That being said, I doubt that the American public and a lot of other people are generally displeased with most of the decisions that the U.S. military have made. I don't think anyone can really make an argument as to why they shouldn't be allowed to be openly gay.

 

I mean, Mr. Choi makes a strong point, it is not so much being able to go around and screaming, "We're here and we're queer," but to be able to share all the same rights to see their loved ones before being deployed. It goes beyond that however, when you start to questioning how many military servicemen are denied family benefits because of their relationship?

 

 

It is downright discrimination, and maybe Mr. Choi is the right person to finally spring board it into people's minds. I think the timing is a little spot on with our military stretched out to such lengths, I'm sure that even the most homophobic of military brass would admit that keeping gays out would hurt our military rather than improve it. On the other hand it's kind of a slippery slope, because not a whole lot of people might find it to be all that important.

 

The fact that he's seeing an executive at Gucci suggests there shouldn't be any financial problems. No wonder he was quick to give up that pension.

 

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General Goose

This don't ask; don't tell bullsh*t is still going on?

 

It's discrimination, it's counter-productive and it's unfair.

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ilikensrs
I'm torn. On one hand, it can be seen as being discriminating. But on the other, having known black or asian dudes amongst a bunch of [white] alpha males is like setting a cat among the pigeons. What if the white military personnel are secretly racist or whatever? That could have a number of disaterous and dare I say fatal ramifications when in combat. So from that perspective I can understand the need to keep it quite (as a precaution). That and I don't see why people need to advertise their race anyway, black or white; especially in the army.

How dare someone want to openly be themselves? They're infringing on my right to pick on fags because they're yucky.

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FFRJ

I don't see why the gays can't openly serve in the military. IT doesn't effect moral. If you are getting shot at you don't care if the man or woman saving you is a fag or macho man. You just want help.

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trickstar34
I don't see why the gays can't openly serve in the military. IT doesn't effect moral. If you are getting shot at you don't care if the man or woman saving you is a fag or macho man. You just want help.

Yes it does, straight guys don't want to worry about having some guy come up and grabbing their ass while their sleeping, there is a natural hate towards gays. I'm not saying all gays do that, but in my experience they do, even if they don't do that the other soldiers would end up beating him up and picking on him. The reason the army has that policy is because of that fact and they don't want anybody in a unit to beat him up. That's why. Especially with firearms around, they may flip out that they have a gay guy near them and shoot him.

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shaboobala

 

Especially with firearms around, they may flip out that they have a gay guy near them and shoot him.

... That is classic.

 

 

 

Anyway you look at it it's still a ban, on gay people. If a gay guy wants to join the army and presumably "get beat up" then he should still be able to make that choice for himself.

Edited by shaboobala

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Omnia sunt Communia

There is so many things wrong with your statement, trickstar34, I'm not even sure I have the time to go through them all and point out why you're wrong. Never the less, I'm going to do it anyway, that's the only way you'll ever learn afterall:

 

 

Yes it does, straight guys don't want to worry about having some guy come up and grabbing their ass while their sleeping, there is a natural hate towards gays.

 

You mean in the same way every male soldier is going to grab the ass of their female peers? Just because you're gay doesn't mean you fancy everyone of the same gender as you. That's a common (and pretty big-headed) misconception held by most homophobes.

 

The only reason there is a "natural hate towards gays" is because we've been brought up in a society where homosexuality has been condemned for some strange reason.

 

 

I'm not saying all gays do that, but in my experience they do, even if they don't do that the other soldiers would end up beating him up and picking on him.

 

Not everyone is as homophobic as you. I don't see why most soldiers would feel the need to physically or emotionally abuse their peer just because he is of a different sexuality to them. Even if he did, he deserved to be kicked out, not the people who are doing nothing wrong.

 

Choi even stated that he has recieved nothing but praise and admiration from his peers for his courage to come out of the closest and admit to his sexuality. He hasn't suffered a single problem from his fellow soldiers, only the government.

 

 

The reason the army has that policy is because of that fact and they don't want anybody in a unit to beat him up. That's why.

 

The reason they have this policy is because it's an outdated law from a time-gone-by when homosexuality was considered "wrong" and "immoral". Luckily most people have come to their senses and realized this isn't the case anymore.

 

 

Especially with firearms around, they may flip out that they have a gay guy near them and shoot him.

 

Then those people deserve to be kicked out of the army, not the gay soldier who has done nothing wrong buy wished to be open about their sexuality. How can you justify a homophobic murderer being better than an openly gay soldier?

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trickstar34

Because it happens all the time, thats why.

 

 

Then those people deserve to be kicked out of the army, not the gay soldier who has done nothing wrong buy wished to be open about their sexuality. How can you justify a homophobic murderer being better than an openly gay soldier?

 

I don't disagree with you there.

 

The reason I'm homophobic is because I encountered one of those gays who grab anybody of the same sex. But I'm not that homophobic, honestly, doesn't it seem strange for a man to wear things that women do?

 

I don't care if they are gay as long as they leave me alone.

Edited by trickstar34

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Pr0xy_fl00d3r
The reason I'm homophobic is because I encountered one of those gays who grab anybody of the same sex. But I'm not that homophobic, honestly, doesn't it seem strange for a man to wear things that women do?

 

So you're judging homosexuals based on one person who tried to grope you?

 

Dont be a f*cking idiot.

 

Also, I have never encountered a homosexual who cross dresses.

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Omnia sunt Communia

 

Because it happens all the time, thats why.

 

Racism and sexism are rampant throughout America. Does that mean we should segregate blacks and whites and remove the right to vote from women? Just because something happens a lot doesn't mean it's right, or acceptable.

 

 

The reason I'm homophobic is because I encountered one of those gays who grab anybody of the same sex. But I'm not that homophobic, honestly, doesn't it seem strange for a man to wear things that women do?

 

I've come across those type of people before, and I didn't like them either, to be honest. Did that affect my view of homosexuals? No. Why? Because he was one person out of millions who are gay. Why should he be your ambassador to the rest of the gay world? If you actually took your head out of your ignorant ass you would actually realize that there isn't that much different between straights and gays, accept their sexual orientation.

 

I don't think so, no. Women are allowed to get away with wearing "men's" clothes, why should men not be allowed to wear "woman's" clothes?

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trickstar34

How am I a racist? My niece's father is black.

 

 

Also, I have never encountered a homosexual who cross dresses.

Ever been to San Francisco? It's pretty common there.

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Omnia sunt Communia

 

How am I a racist? My niece's father is black.

 

I dated a neo-Nazi. Does that mean I like racists? Nobody said you were racist though. Guilty consious much? sigh.gif

 

 

Ever been to San Francisco? It's pretty common there.

 

I don't know what this has to do with the topic at hand, but I'll humour you none-the-less: "Pretty common" is not a synomn for "all of them." Not all gays cross dress.

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Oxidizer

 

How dare someone want to openly be themselves? They're infringing on my right to pick on fags because they're yucky.

That wasn't my point at all. My point was that obviously not everyone is comfortable with gay people for whatever reason and if there's someone with that view in the army and they're working with a [known] homosexual then I doubt they're gonna have that person's back (so to speak) as much as s/he would their straight comrade(s); the gay person will be treated differently to a straight person in those circumstances. That could be potentially dangerous for a lot of people. That's the only reason I don't 'mind' the DADT policy, despite it being discriminatory.

 

@ trickstar34: Since when did homosexual equel sexual predator? I think you'll find that the majority of sex crimes are perpetrated by heterosexuals. But you're a religious fanatic, so trying to get through to you won't do much good, so I'll just stop wasting my time before I've even begun.

Edited by Oxidizer

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DmitriyMedvedev
My question is why are people from EU so errigant towards the US? It's just strange, we never did anything to you, we own all the businesses, so why do you hate us so much?

so by your logic a jew isnt allowed to hate the nazis? same thing here. Americans HATE europe, Americans see europeans as SUB-HUMAN. that means americans HATE my country, my people, my family so i have every right to hate you americans back just as much.

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General Goose
My question is why are people from EU so errigant towards the US? It's just strange, we never did anything to you, we own all the businesses, so why do you hate us so much?

so by your logic a jew isnt allowed to hate the nazis? same thing here. Americans HATE europe, Americans see europeans as SUB-HUMAN. that means americans HATE my country, my people, my family so i have every right to hate you americans back just as much.

Wow, double stupid quote.

 

I think we may have the new CrocodileDundee...

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Jack O' Brian
My question is why are people from EU so errigant towards the US? It's just strange, we never did anything to you, we own all the businesses, so why do you hate us so much?

Nobody said that UE hates USA. Infact, I was with one of friends parents who was an Italian, irish born in New York. She said that most people in america, when people ask them, they never say their american, they will always say whats deep down in their roots. A number of them are British and proud to be that part british, Nobody really hates each other. personally i don't really know much about this...

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Chunk

It's discrimination, pure and simple. A smart man goes out to Iraq to serve his country and is discharged because he admitted he was gay. Even worse, this has been going on for 16 years and 13,000 people have been discharged because of their sexuality.

 

A disgrace on the US Army's part.

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Dingdongs

It's a total load of bullsh*t.

 

People in my family are in the marines, they have no damn problem with gays in the military. I know some people who are over in Iraq, they don't give a damn either.

 

The right wingers make it look like all gay people don't have any self control and are going to try and rape straight soldiers in the shower.

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