Someone once told me he assumed I was religious because of the wonder and beauty I see in sunsets. I told him that as an atheist I see sunsets as naturally occuring phenomena, so with my explanation they just happen to be breathtakingly awesome, whereas with his they’re expected to be.
I was told today by an acquaintance that I didn’t need to come out to my command when I announced via my official leave request that I am attending the OutServe Armed Forces Leadership Summit in Las Vegas in two weeks, and instead I could have left the specifics out. I told him that it’s supposed to be in there, and DADT repeal means that I can be honest and no longer have to lie about or hide my life. Additionally, I made an observation that I thought I would share here:
I’m a Marine–we aren’t exactly known to take the easy way when there is an incredibly complex, potentially dangerous, much more strenuous route available.
Leading up to the repeal of DADT on 20 September, I was asked by some members of the press to comment. I did so anonymously, and explicitly stated that my views were my own and were in no way meant to be construed as representative of the Marine Corps. The reporters were fixated on the idea that I didn’t want to come out in the interviews, sometimes to the point of what seemed like misrepresenting what I was saying. I told one of them, “It’s not that I don’t want people to find out I’m gay, it’s that I don’t want them to find out from reading a newspaper or watching the news.” One day discovering the sexuality of a Marine will happen naturally as you ask him if he’s dating anyone and he tells you the person’s name. We aren’t there yet, but we will get there.
As for “coming out” at work, I don’t think I should have to sit people down and tell them I’m gay. But I’m done watching what I say, I’m done being intentionally vague. People need to know that there are gay people in the military who are serving honorably. I don’t need banners and media attention, I just need to be myself and people will come to understand and accept it at their own pace. I am not a second-class citizen, and I won’t let anyone treat me as one anymore. I certainly won’t do it to myself. I deserve better than that. Continue reading “Thoughts on the end of DADT”
Someone told me once, “You only ever have two options when you find yourself in a situation you don’t like: change the situation, or change how you feel about it. Complaining doesn’t help either.”
Imagine you’re stranded in the middle of a lake. Certainly there’s a chance a boat will come by, but sitting there and hoping won’t make that happen. Wishing you had a raft isn’t going to make one appear. And certainly complaining isn’t going to make a bit of difference. So what do you do? You probably won’t be able to change how you feel–it sucks. Your only option left is to change the situation.
Accept the position you’re in, and start swimming.
Last week, Newt Gingrich was interviewed on the Christian Broadcasting Network after announcing his forming of a committee to consider a presidential run in 2012. In it, he made the following comment:
In a sense, our Judeo-Christian civilization is under attack from two fronts. On one front, you have a secular, atheist, elitism. And on the other front, you have radical Islamists. And both groups would like to eliminate our civilization if they could. For different reasons, but with equal passion. (From an Interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network, 9 March 2011)
For a man doing an interview with CBN in an attempt to clarify his indiscretions, Newt Gingrich seems to be attacking Judeo-Christian values just fine on his own. That aside, he is intent on being forgiven for his inappropriate actions by Evangelical Christians whose support he would need in a successful bid for the presidency in 2012. I would venture to say that someone who would break his own sacred vows and then expect immediate forgiveness not only for his actions but for his soul is exactly the kind of person we don’t need running the country right now. Can a man be trusted who claims to follow a particular faith, and upon his failure expects all to be forgiven without understanding? If he can’t do it in his marriage, I struggle to see how he’d be able to do it with any less sacred a bond. I’d much prefer someone who has a demonstrated history of living by the rules he has sworn to uphold.
Yesterday, I happened across the same quote posted by a friend on Facebook. As the particular quote struck a nerve with me, I posted a comment on the quote, which resulted in a discussion. The discussion was between myself and another commenter, not my friend who made the original post. Here’s how it played out, and I’d love to hear your comments.
Although I was working last week, I paid as close attention to the hearings on DADT repeal in the Senate Armed Services Committee as I could. I was encouraged that the service chiefs were as supportive of the report as they were, as well as their attitudes towards their respective services’ ability to implement repeal should it be ordered by Congress to do so.
As a Marine who personally supports the repeal of DADT, I have been working over the past several days to understand the position of the Marine Commandant, General Amos. Specifically, although he recognized that, according to the Comprehensive Review Working Group’s report, over 80% of those who have knowingly served with gay service members in their units have a relatively positive (or neutral) view of repeal, nearly 45% of troops who have deployed have a negative view. He used this latter statistic as the basis for his apprehension towards repeal at this time. I agree with the Commandant that, although a statistical minority, this figure represents a segment of the military that cannot be ignored.
A friend wrote me today on Facebook and said he’d been posed with a question that he’d like my thoughts on:
It seems to me that a key issue of having gays in the military is the idea of sharing barracks, sleeping quarters, restrooms, and other private areas with people of other sexual orientations. In other words, if it’s not acceptable for military women to be forced to sleep, shower, and dress in the presence of their male comrades, then why is it acceptable for heteros to be forced to do these things in the presence of their gay comrades?
Here is what I came up with:
The short answer is that while male and female facilities are rooted in physiological differences between the sexes, the lack of physiological differences in varying sexuality among both men and women prevent the same distinction being used to separate people of the same sex based on their sexual identities.