Category Archives: Gay Rights

September 20th: Very Few Likely to Ask or Tell

Today marks the ‘death’ of the military’s 18 year-old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and, despite the whining of a few select people, this should be a proud day in our history. Since 1993, more than 10,000 people have been discharged under DADT, many of whom were in vital positions, such as Arabic and Farsi interpreters. The military has said it would allow those still in good standing to come back. That number is surprisingly large, showing a tenacity in dedication that would surprise many gay-bashers.

While many groups had repeal parties last night, today is expected to be business as usual domestically and, abroad, where it’s been September 20th for several more hours.

Despite the eager fervor the GOP had had about all of the awesome gay orgies that would be exploding in bases around the world, people actually in the military expect things to be pretty tame. It has widely been reported that only 30% of those serving in the military have said they would have a problem working alongside gays. Lucky for them, reason says that they probably still won’t know who among them is gay.

Why?

Because, of those people who choose to tell, few are likely to be telling everyone they see. Some may, and that’s fine, but the vast majority of gays are not as flamboyant as Fox would have you believe. Besides, if they’ve managed to hang around being gay without anyone noticing before, chances are they won’t change overnight.

Because there are very few circumstances in a given workday when “I got those copies you asked for, Bill…on the way to make out with my boyfriend” is going to be uttered.

Because, sadly, discrimination being wrong on paper doesn’t actually keep people from being jerks. The military also says that women shouldn’t be raped by their fellow members and we all know how well that’s going. Coming to work in a pink tutu and rainbow wig (which gays do in every other profession from Monday through Friday, obviously) would probably result in beatings.

Because coming to work in a pink tutu and rainbow wig is still against the dress code, no matter who you’re going home with or to.

Because these men and women have a job to do.

I have plenty of reasons to say mean things about the military, but today, I’m proud of them for coming around.

TIPS

So, hear that they’re gonna start letting nancy boys (and Bruces and Lances and Trevors) into the military and worried you won’t know how to cope? Here are a few tips to help you navigate those uneasy first couple days.

1. You have to be tolerant past just September 20th. Your gay friend may not come out to you until the 21st. Or Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day or ever. Do not pressure them and don’t act too shocked when/if they tell you. They may do it casually (sneaky twink bastards), for instance using a same-gendered pronoun when talking about their date. When this happens, it’s best not to draw attention to it (“Whoa, whoa, whoa. HER?!”)

2. Don’t be a tattletale. Gay service men and women will tell who they want in their own time. They don’t need your help getting the word out. Furthermore, just because you can’t be mean to gays anymore doesn’t mean you should replace it with other tattling (“Private Johnson didn’t wash the coffee pot!” “Lieutenant Smash
was on the phone with his wife for six whole minutes when he was supposed to be filing paperwork to get the Officers new chairs!”).

3. Asking is rude. Contrary to popular belief, gays have feelings about on par with normal people. They are neither feelingless automatons driven only be their love of “The Cock,” nor blubbering sissies who let a mud puddle ruin their week. Having you breath down their neck and whisper hotly into their ear “Are you a Gay?” will not go over well.

4. Gays don’t melt when water is poured on them. Please do not employ this tactic, better known as “Shock and Awwwww, what a world!”

5. There is no way to tell who is gay and who isn’t just by looking at them. Sure, their hair may be nicer and they may smell better, but that’s just a meaningless correlation.

6. Don’t forget! They went through Basic, too. They know plenty of ways to lay the hurt on you that don’t involve sodomy.

Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy; Acknowledging the Road Ahead

I wish everyone a very peaceful, reflective Martin Luther King Day and hope that his dream of civility for all people (even women, a noble and dignified goal even in the face of King’s own womanizing).

This is the first MLK day that I’ve had a “blog,” and as such it seems only fitting to pay special attention to the civil rights victories and defeats we’ve celebrated and suffered as a nation and a species this past year. In typical cynical style, I’ll start with what we still need to do, then remind myself of the truly wonderful strides we can make as a people.

As always, my first concern is the anti-choice and, frankly, anti-citizen, Congress. They intend to vote on the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” After having faced the embarrassing truth that the health care law doesn’t kill babies, or old people, they had to scramble to find something else for Obamacare to do wrong. They focused on jobs.

The Congressional Budget Office report (pdf) doesn’t actually say that the health care bill kills (nor destroys, nor ruins, nor gets rid of, nor dissuades people from working) jobs, but merely that it will reduce labor. It doesn’t mean employers will be forced to fire workers; it means that future/potential workers will be able to retire sooner in their careers. According to the report, “[t]he expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies through the exchanges will effectively increase beneficiaries’ financial resources. Those additional resources will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market.” Similarly, people with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage nor dropped from their plans due to an emergent health issue under this bill. Prices can only vary so much based on age or health, meaning older workers would have the option to retire and buy coverage individually. Like I’ve been saying since the beginning of the health care debate two years ago, not having to worry about a trip to the ER wiping out your entire life’s savings means you’ll be able to save money for retirement in a different way and retire earlier. Not only that, but it would increase the quality of life for everyone in a similar boat of not having to worry about losing their livelihood to a broken leg. Also, P.S., repeal would cost over $230 million, while keeping it in place will save $143 million over the first ten years.

In other news, the Tea Party, heartened by its inexplicable success in the November elections, has begun pressuring lawmakers to be racist. What fun!

In Raleigh, N.C. segregation is the new black. The Republican school-board has abolished their nationally-celebrated integration policy, promising to “say no to the social engineers.” From the Washington Post article on the subject, we see that “…as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits.” We tried this already. Remember how that ended? But maybe the board is right. “This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s – my life is integrated,” said John Tedesco, a new board member. “We need new paradigms.” What paradigm are you hoping to achieve? One in which the people who don’t have the good sense to be white are neither seen, nor heard? What would you have us do? Write them out of textbooks? Surely you can’t think you have a decent case for something so —

The Tea Party of Tennessee wants slavery removed from textbooks. Only days after the newly-elected Republicans read their “cleaned up” version of the Constitution, a group of about two dozen Tennessee teabaggers decided they wanted slavery written out of textbooks, saying it would “besmirch the image of the Founding Fathers.” Their list of “priorities and demands” included state laws governing textbooks’ criteria ensure that “no portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.” That’s right, including those uppity minorities that get elected to the presidency.

2011 is new and I’m optimistic for the time being. At least until the 17th, anyway.

2010 saw the half-assed repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (which is still being appealed and bitched about). That was good news.

Relatedly, Maryland is hopeful that it will be the sixth state to green-light gay marriage. Even the Republican opposition favors civil unions which, while not an acceptable long-term goal, are a good springboard in the meantime. Nevertheless, I intend to keep my fingers crossed (when they aren’t typing) and campaign for full marriage rights of gay Marylanders.

Though the inflammatory rhetoric of the Right (and some of the Left, when they bother to speak) may not be directly to blame for the tragedy in Arizona, it certainly did not help create a serene environment in which crazies are best dealt with. The little girl who died, Christina Green, had her organs donated to a girl in Boston and subsequently saved her life. When the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest her funeral, the city of Tuscon was able to set aside petty party squabbling long enough to protect her family’s right to mourn in peace. Even had the lawmakers failed, there were already groups of all creeds ready to take up arms in peaceful counter-protest.

Despite Sarah Palin’s unwillingness to admit any wrongdoing, or even to remove her crosshairs image from her website and replace it with something more appropriate to the Republican Party (say, elephant heads?), other members of the GOP have turned it down a notch. John Boehner was good enough to refer to “Obamacare” as merely job-destroying in a recent blog post, which is all I think I can ask of him. John McCain, on the other hand, really floored me.

Senator McCain recently called President Obama a true “patriot” whose ideals are not contrary to those of “our nation or its founding.” I heard this on the radio today and nearly had to pull over. He went on to say that he himself was partially responsible for the recent trend of hateful speech. I am not a fan of John McCain and I’m still pretty sure that he’s crazy, but this was a class act and I thank him for it.

It’s going to be a really difficult year for people opposed to, you know, evil, but there’s no harm in raising some hell together.