because I'm not going to talk about people, except generally. But it's an issue about which confidentiality and controversy swirl: Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's the dubious policy of the U.S. Armed Forces, whose unintended consequences have resulted in witchhunts in our military units. It is against military law to do anything which would indicate that a person is homosexual and it is alsoagainst military law to ask if a person is homosexual. So all kinds of subterfuge occur to get around this policy and harass people for their sexual orientation.
Last night I sat and listened to a seasoned veteran of our armed forces give advice to men and women who are gay or lesbian and in the military. It was chilling, especially to hear the tactics used by some in the military to "out" gay and lesbian servicemembers. These tactics amount to stalking, in my opinion, and the personal stories shared included being together as a couple two hours away from the military base and suddenly being joined by a group of military colleagues who just happened to be in the same place at the same time.
Or being asked repeatedly by a member of the opposite sex why s/he won't date a man/woman. Or being sexually harassed and told "you and your partner just come with us and we'll show you what really works". Or being photographed in a public place with one's partner whose looks seem to indicate gayness. Or having one's personal room on the base searched by "superiors" looking for evidence, on the grounds that "everything on the base belongs to the military".
Men and women who have served our country well and who wish to continue to serve our country are being hounded out of the military in droves and by devious and cruel tactics. I heard references to women being raped "to show them how real sex should be", to people being injured by apparently deliberate actions of a colleague in order to get information, even to a killing that may have occurred because of hatred toward her for her lesbianism.
If a servicemember objects to this kind of treatment, that's further evidence, in the eyes of the military. If a servicemember lies about his/her sexuality, that's further evidence and, additionally, it's illegal to lie about it. It is against military law to live as a domestic partner, to marry one's partner, to acknowledge one's sexual orientation or engage in any physical affection with a member of the same sex.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network was formed to offer legal and moral assistance to servicemembers who are faced with this kind of career-busting treatment. No homosexual person in the military is safe, because once the authorities have homed in on someone, they may promise to drop all charges in exchange for the names of other gays and lesbian servicemembers. This is a false promise, because to drop charges in this situation would be illegal.
Even if one's commanding officer is gay or lesbian and seems to be in a protective position, s/he is not, for the officer is him/herself in danger and can be discharged as well. One's only hope seems to be for an honorable discharge at this point, as a known gay person is out, no matter what, it appears.
Hounding gays and lesbians out of the military certainly seems counterproductive for our nation, seeing as how we are hard-pressed to muster enough volunteers already. And the secrecy engendered by DADT leads to cruel and inhumane treatment of good people by people who are threatened by homosexuality. And, like the proverbial butterfly on a pin, the good people have no recourse except to put up with it, leave their careers, or die.
Excuse me while I write President Obama. I'll let you know if I hear something back. While we're at it, why don't you write something too? Our bglt friends and neighbors and the defenders of our country need us to help.
UPDATE: I have posted my letter to President Obama in the comments section of this post.