Military Policy Inappropriate

By Daniel Tedford

COMMENTARY

The hypocrisy that is evident in this nation is always startling
to me. In a Gallup poll for 2006, 89 percent of individuals feel
that homosexual men and women deserve equal rights in the
workplace. That is an overwhelming majority. The poll also shows
that since 1977 there has never been a time when people felt that
homosexual men and women should not be given equal rights in the
workplace.

Why then does the military still hold to an outdated,
inappropriate and prejudiced policy that does not permit gay and
lesbian individuals to serve openly – especially when a new poll
shows that 73 percent of active-duty military supports gays in the
military, according to an ABC7.com article?

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is a policy that contradicts the essence
of freedom by restricting rights based on an individual’s personal
lifestyle. A law that ostracizes people and condemns them for being
the person they are should be unconstitutional.

Since the policy has been initiated, approximately 10,000
marines, soldiers and sailors have been discharged – dishonorably –
from the military for sexual orientation, according to the ABC7
article. If this were done at a business in the United States, the
owner would be sued and would lose.

This policy helps to promote stereotypes surrounding the gay
community. Saying a person cannot be openly gay or lesbian in the
military suggests two things concerning our culture as Americans.
The first being that it makes others uncomfortable, which will be
addressed later, and the other, which relates to the first, is that
if gay or lesbians are allowed to serve openly, they would not
respect others privacy or sexual orientation and make them
uncomfortable.

This has nothing to do with gay or lesbian though. It is a
matter of character and principle. Any person has the ability to
make another uncomfortable or belittled, but it is a matter of
humanity and consideration that teaches us not to treat others in
such a poor manner that is disrespectful to their person. If given
the opportunity to be open and free, I imagine gay and lesbians
would adhere to this principle just as anyone else would, as we are
all humans and all face the same conscience.

As for the uncomfortable feelings of those soldiers or persons
who have to serve with homosexuals, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a
poor solution. In order to keep “straight” soldiers comfortable,
they must maintain their level of uncomfortability by adhering to
their fears.

Yet, if the policy was thrown out, it would give individuals an
opportunity to deal with their uncomfortable feelings, thus
creating progress that would eventually eliminate the need for such
a policy in the first place.

During the civil rights era, it was the integration of schools
which allowed individuals to become comfortable with other cultures
and grow as a people, together. It was difficult, but it
worked.

If facing issues is the way to resolve them, and the military
and government still choose to implement this policy they are doing
so with an agenda and that would be the desire to keep people
uncomfortable, to continue to segregate and demean gays and
lesbians and further attempt to disassociate them with our
society.

Eric Alva, the first person wounded in the war in Iraq who also
recently came out as gay, and the Human Rights Campaign are now
fighting for this policy to be discharged – dishonorably – much
like those who have been abused by it. Doing so would be a huge
step in a battle our country has fought for since its humble
beginnings, equal rights and spreading freedom.

Daniel Tedford can be reached by e-mail at
editorinchief@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3530.

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