Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gay discharges

Commanders Ordered Not To Fire Gays Until War's End:

Scholars studying military personnel policy have discovered a document halting the discharge of gay soldiers in units that are about to be mobilized.

The document was made public Tuesday by Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was found during research for a story for the ABC news program Nightline.

The regulation was contained in a 1999 "Reserve Component Unit Commander's Handbook" and is still in effect, according to the Center.

It states that if a discharge for homosexual conduct is requested "prior to the unit's receipt of alert notification, discharge isn't authorized. Member will enter AD [active duty] with the unit."

The document is significant because of longstanding Pentagon denials that the military requires gays to serve during wartime, only to fire them once peacetime returns. According to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, gays and lesbians must be discharged whether or not the country is at war.

Gay soldiers and legal groups have reported for years that known gays are sent into combat, and then discharged when the conflicts end. Discharge statistics corroborate a pattern of rising expulsions during peacetime and plummeting rates during military conflicts, and Pentagon statistics confirm that, as has been the case in every war since World War II, gay discharges have declined during the current conflict in the Middle East.

That's so shameful.

I love Margaret Cho. Love her. In CHO Revolution, she ends with a really strong speech about the illness of this country. This segment begins with her talking about how she'd love to have a gay kid, and she says,

And he'd be a soldier and he'd change the slogan from, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," to, "Don't FUCK with me, Queen!"

..."Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

How dare they? How dare they ask you do die for your country yet not allow you to be who you are? As if you could win a war without lesbians. *laughs* Who gonna read the map?

I admire Cho because as much as I think we need those who turn the other cheek, I also think we need people who are willing to, as Cho says, "Go there." She makes you go there, makes you uncomfortable, and makes you think. I love her for that. Also, the lady doesn't take shit from no one.

And since I've begun to shift the point of this post to Cho, I'm going to end with my favorite Cho quotation. This is from the end of Revolution:

Racism and homophobia are the exact same thing. In that, when somebody insults me, and they say that I'm fat, or ugly, or not funny, or stupid, or whatever, I can argue that. But when somebody says something about my race, I feel it because that's who I am. When somebody attacks your sexuality, it hurts because that's you and you can't change that. Sexuality and race are the essential parts of ourselves that we cannot remove or destroy. They are the you of you and the me of me

And I'm so fortunate to have grown up in both pants. This activism, this history that I have in me. I think my favorite activism group was from the eighties, and they were Act Up. And they had this great slogan which was "Silence Equals Death," which means if we don't talk about AIDS, we will die of AIDS. And I adopt a similar slogan for me: "Silence Equals Nonexistence." If I don't give too much information, if I don't always "go there," it was like I was never there in the first place. And I noticed this most right after 9-11, when there were no gays or lesbians invited to give their opinions about what was going on. There were no women invited to give their opinion. There were hardly any people of color invited, and if they were, they were Muslim Americans and Arab Americans talking about the violence that they had experienced just because they share the same skin color as the terrorists, which is heinous and dumb. That's like arresting Emmanuel Lewis because Gary Coleman punched that woman.

And yes, I am very worried about the troops, but I am also worried that my reproductive rights might be taken way from me. I'm as scared of terrorism as everybody else, but I'm also scared that people over here are getting getting arrested by the FBI and the INS for having the wrong last name. I am so, so sorry that there is so much starvation in Iraq and so much starvation all over there, but I am so sorry that there are young girls here starving themselves to death so they can look like the actresses on TV. I am hurt all over for this awful war and all of this stuff, but I am hurt because someone just got called a fag, or a dyke, or a pansy, or a sissy, or a bulldyke, or a chink, or a nigger, or a kyke, or a wetback, or an injun, or a jap, or a bitch, or a whore, or a cunt, and unless to you that's a term of endearment (*laughs* in the right context it is) that person is being attacked because of who they are and I don't accept that.

So I think if racial minorities, sexual minorities, feminists (both male and female), hell, all liberals. If we all got together and had this big too much information, "go there" voice. If we just went and did it, that would equal power. And that power would equal change. And that change would equal a revolution.

Check out Margaret Cho if you have a chance. Revolution and I'm the One That I Want are my two favorite routines from her.


Blogger Katie said...

I just have to say wow to all that I've read at this blog. Especially this post written by harper. It's just... really well-written, especially with all the comments on bits taken from other places. I totally have to recommend that my friends read what's written here.

5:01 PM

Blogger Harper said...

Hey, thanks! I just found this comment. Thanks so much. I'm glad you like our blog!

10:58 PM


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