Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Should I Be Discharged?

With great dismay, I read this morning about an Army National Guard Lieutenant who is going to be discharged from the military, despite his desire to serve, his successful prior deployment to Iraq, and his Arab linguist status.

The spirit of the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is that homosexual servicemembers are a threat to good order and discipline. Therefore, the story goes, we shouldn't make an issue of sexual orientation, so we should neither reveal it nor ask others to reveal it.

Here's my problem, though: I am several weeks from being engaged (We've got the date for next July, the restaurant, the ring, and some other particulars worked out, but we still won't be engaged until we go through some Cambodian traditions that we won't be able to do until August).

By getting engaged, though, and announcing it here on the blog (I try to stay away from purely personal stuff, but will certainly make an exception for major milestones), I will be publicly announcing my status as a heterosexual, about to enter into long-term heterosexual matrimony. From CNN today:

First Lt. Dan Choi disclosed in March that he is gay, challenging the 1994 "don't ask, don't tell" law that requires the military to discharge troops who disclose their sexual orientation. Tuesday's ruling, made after a daylong hearing, is a step toward stripping Choi of his officer's commission and ending his career.

Just wondering if anyone could try to throw me under the bus for this. No one asked me whether I was straight or gay, but by openly, brazenly making this announcement, and then having the gumption to make a public display of it (in a church, in a home, and in the Hong Kong, no less!) I seem to be "telling" anyone who cares to listen more than they might care to know.

4 comments:

kad barma said...

Considering the commonwealth in which you now reside, unless you're also specifying the gender of your intended, you're not really revealing anything. ;-)

(And, considering many of the Congressional scandals of previous years, even maintaining a female spouse fails to be conclusive in all cases). ;-) ;-)

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

The New Englander said...

Kad,

LOL and great comment. Of course, will write something more detailed once things become official. For your long-term calendar: 17 JUL 2010.

best,
gp

C R Krieger said...

What is it about Arab linguists?  They seem to be the focus of this "challenge to DADT" series of events.

Why is 1st Lt Choi stepping out this way?  What is the "back story?"  And why didn't his CO tell him to get out of his office and go back to work and stop bothering him?

And, and this may be an inside baseball question, what happens to that "safety valve" we now have with DADT, if it goes away?  I am talking about the loophole that allows people who have committed to a long term of service to get out of it if they find it beyond what they can emotionally manage.

The whole issue was important twenty years ago, as per Greg's previous blog about the US Embassy in Moscow, but not now, given the shift in society's point of view.  Rand Corporation came out with a study a while back that said that the security issues with homosexuals was no different from those with heterosexuals.  DADT was a nice compromise that allowed us to throw a fig leaf over the whole thing, which is why I wonder about some of these cases.

On the other hand, why isn't Yale (or Harvard) stripped of all Federal Funds for denying military recruiters access to the law school, per the Solomon Amendment?

I just want to know more about this story, to fully understand it.  But then I think that DADT is maybe a good policy.  Don't tell me.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  And for those who blame President Obama for not ending DADT by executive order, it is a Congressional mandate.  Write the trio that represent us in Congress and ask them what the holdup is—you know, Niki, Teddy and John.

The New Englander said...

Cliff,

Thanks for bringing up those points...I have heard a few "sea stories" from senior noncoms who have definitely seen DADT used as a way out for people to miss deployments or cut enlistments short. It seems to me, though, that's just another reason to end it.

Fair point for bringing up the back story. You and I both know there are servicemembers out there in some kind of DADT neverland, who do their job, stay quiet about that part of their identity, and the chain of command makes it a non-issue. So where did it change for Lt Choi? I don't know, but I'll try to dig into the story enough to find out..

best,
gp