Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coming Out of the Closet, Professionally?

Repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is not a good idea from several standpoints. I’m probably going to give away who I am by my statements, but it is a personal opinion.

From a professional standpoint, I don’t care who you are or what you do. All I care about is if you can get the required job completed…period. If not, I can relieve you for incompetence, which I have no problem doing. Of course, I need a thick file of counselings to support my claims and to show that you were confronted with the issues and counseled, rehabilitation or retraining was tried…all to no avail. I don’t care what your sexual preference is. It is not part of your job and it has no place in the workplace. That is meant to be private and like religion and politics, is not to be mentioned in public. Sexual preferences have no “rights”. Men and women have rights, but, if your private actions, your sexual preference or sexual proclivities affect your job, that’s when I have a problem and I will deal with it as a behavioral issue, much like I would alcoholism, tardiness, or DUIs.

Today, however, I would be slammed with a discrimination lawsuit. I had a gentlemen ask me about what people thought when blacks or women joined the military. I maintain that those are entirely different and separate issues. Race and gender are not in the same category as sexual preference. Whereas I do not flaunt my sexual activities in front of everyone, I cannot hide the fact that I am black, Hispanic, Chinese, etc, or that I am a woman or a man. I do not believe that discrimination should be used as an argument. People have rights, not activities.

People can cease to have rights, however, when they cross a well-defined legal line. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, sodomy and adultery have no place in the military according the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. In one of the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs, revision of the UCMJ is proposed where it discusses sodomy. An argument is that the code needs to reflect the laws of the land and not be outdated. Adultery is also illegal according to UCMJ, but I don’t hear about the law needing to be changed to reflect today’s society of infidelity. The military is supposed to adhere to a higher moral code, to be an institution of integrity. We all know that there are adulterers and swingers in the military, but they don’t broadcast it. If they did, they’d be given Field Grade Article 15s and possibly chaptered out of the military for conduct unbecoming an officer, warrant officer, enlisted Soldier. The reason the UCMJ exists is to ensure that good order and discipline prevail. If the military were a reflection of the public as a whole, I wouldn’t necessarily want to serve. I like that we are set apart and held to higher standards. It is part of the profession of being a Soldier, not a contentious point for discrimination.

I’m also going to have to undergo more sensitivity training. Where was that when women or blacks were admitted to the military? I don’t want to add more training to my already long list. If I am professional, I don’t need to undergo the training. I think maybe the training should. I have my own views on whether or not it is right morally, but I don’t want someone “training” or forcing me to accept a “morality” to which I don’t subscribe. If there is any training, it should be to continue to act professionally. I think that would cover most of the problems.

There is the additional fear of harassment of gays by non-gays in the military. Again, if people are staying professional, then there shouldn’t be issues. Flaunting a gay or lesbian status is inviting trouble. If I flirt at work or school with my peers, I am inviting trouble. Sex always gets people in trouble, period! Sexual assault is a crime in the military and whether it is girl on girl, guy on girl, guy on guy or girl on guy, it doesn’t matter. It will be dealt with by the Criminal Investigative Division (CID). Sexual harassment may rise, but it rose when opposite genders were allowed into traditionally male worlds. There is a reason that women are not in combat arms professions and I am fine with that reasoning. Plain and simple, women are distractions to men by nature. Men are also more protective of women, by nature. Women also have functions that require additional levels of hygiene, which are usually not available in the field for long durations of time, neither do men need to be subject to that. No amount of military training can root out basic human needs or hormonal attractions. What the military can do is to limit the occurrences in which those manifest themselves. Just for the record, I’m fine with women being in combat arms, but in a separate unit, like Delta Force has. Again, the military can limit, and has done so with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law, the occurrences in which being homosexual has an impact on others. Unprofessional behavior is punished, whether it is homosexual or adulterous.

There are fears that once someone’s gay status is known that open bay sleeping arrangements, shared showers or close quarters can be a hotbed for flirting or open sexual advances. Assigned cohabitation with other gays has been discussed for barracks assignments and rejected. Open showers should not be seen as peep shows. Why should it matter what my sexual preference is? I don’t get restive because people don’t know me openly as a flirt (I’m not, but, just saying…) Gays in the military should be no different. Again, it comes back behavioral issues. If I make unwelcome advances, I get in trouble. Professional behavior is just that, professional – not leering, not jeering, not flaunting assets meant for privacy, and certainly not bargaining to be allowed to make those around me uncomfortable. Laws shouldn’t be changed just to pacify behavioral issues.

A roommate of mine in Colorado decided to join the military. In her Advanced Individual Training, she was propositioned to by a female classmate and she experimented with bisexualism. She decided that she was done with guys and after her commissioning two years ago, openly announced to her family and a few friends that she was a lesbian and done with guys who had hurt her. She is an officer in the military, but leaves her private life at home. She has no problems at work and doesn’t ask for special treatment. While I do not agree with her lifestyle, I have no complaints with her actions on the job. She is a professional and caring nurse, to both males and females. She has no desire to have the law repealed.

Don’t repeal the DADT law. It’s opening cans of worms that will inundate the military with more paperwork, additional behavior problems, additional moral and ethical, monetary and tax questions, and headaches galore for unit commanders.

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