I realize there might be some confusion about what exactly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is. So I’m going to provide some basic facts about DADT and then I’m going to post the U. S. Army Homosexual Conduct Policy (HCP) so that everyone here can read it for themselves and know that they understand it.
DADT is formally entitled: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Harass. HCP draws its authority from Title 10 United States Code (USC) 654, Department of Defense (DOD) Policy, and Army Regulation (AR) 600-20.
Every soldier is familiarized with HCP upon initial entry into the Army. While no soldier is supposed to be asked about their sexual orientation, they are required to initial a document that states they are aware of HCP and that they can be discharged for violating it. I’ll try to find that document later and then update this post.
The U. S. Army Homosexual Conduct Policy:
U. S. Army
Homosexual Conduct Policy
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,
U. S. Army
Homosexual Conduct Policy
Implements 10 U.S. Code § 654
Implements DoD Policy
AR 600-20, chapter 4-19
Army policy is a balance between the legal prohibition of homosexual conduct and the privacy rights of soldiers
What does the Law Say?
“The presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
10 U.S.C. § 654
The Law and Army Policy in Everyday Language
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Homosexual Conduct is:
Admission of homosexuality
Committing a homosexual act
Marrying or attempting to marry a person of same sex
Train the Force
What Does ‘Don’t Ask” Mean?
Applicants for enlistment will not be asked nor required to reveal their sexual orientation.
Applicants for enlistment will not be asked if they have engaged in homosexual conduct.
While on active duty, soldiers will not be asked about their sexual orientation or conduct unless there is credible information of homosexual conduct.
What Does “Don’t Tell” Mean?
“Don’t Tell” is the opposite side of the coin from “Don’t Ask.”
Soldiers should not disclose or discuss their sexual orientation or conduct.
If a soldier admits to being homosexual, the commander will begin the process to determine if credible information exists which would warrant separation.
What is Credible Information?
A statement by a reliable person that a soldier has:
engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act
heard the soldier state that he or she was homosexual
heard the soldier state that he she had married or attempted to marry a member of the same sex.
A statement by a reliable person that they had observed a soldier admitting to or engaging in homosexual conduct.
What Is Not Credible Information?
Rumors that a soldier is homosexual
Others opinions that a soldier is homosexual
Going to a homosexual bar, reading homosexual publications, associating with known homosexuals or marching in homosexual rights rallies in civilian clothes
Reports of being harassed shall not by itself constitute credible information justifying the initiation of an investigation.
What are Grounds for Investigation?
Credible information must exist.
A commander must have a reasonable belief that a soldier has:
Engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act
Stated that he or she is a homosexual or otherwise indicated a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct
Married or attempted to marry a person of the same sex
The initiation of any substantial investigation into whether an admission of homosexuality was made for the purpose of seeking separation from the Army and/or determining whether recoupment of financial benefits is warranted must be approved at the Army Secretariat level.
Definition of substantial investigation: An investigation that extends beyond questioning the member, individuals suggested by the member for interview and the member’s immediate chain of command.
DoD Directed Policy Changes
Installation Judge Advocates will consult senior legal officers at a higher HQ prior to the initiation of an investigation.
Initiation of substantial investigations into admission of homosexuality for the purpose of separation will be made at the secretarial level.
The IG will inspect homosexual conduct policy training.
Zero Tolerance for Harassment
Definition: Derogatory, persistent, threatening or annoying behavior directed toward an individual or group.
Possible types of harassment
Verbal (on or off duty)
Jody calls regarding homosexuals
Derogatory language or references about homosexuals
Graffiti in latrines, bulletin boards, etc.
Anonymous threats; telephonic, electronic, etc.
What Can a Soldier Do If Threatened, Harassed or Accused of Being Homosexual?
Report harassment at once to the commander
Commanders will take appropriate action to protect the safety of soldiers who report threats or harassment.
Who Can a Soldier Talk with Confidentially?
Legal Assistance Attorney
The challenge to all soldiers is to comply with the law that prohibits homosexual conduct while at the same time respecting the privacy and dignity of every soldier.
The video below was taken yesterday outside the White House. It shows NPS Park Police ordering people out of Lafayette Park.
This move by the Park Police was due to a group of uniformed service members who had handcuffed themselves to the fence surrounding the White House in protest of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
If this sounds awfully familiar to the LT Dan Choi and CPT Jim Pietrangelo incident from March 18, 2010 that is because it is. Yesterday though, 6 people handcuffed themselves to the White House fence. At first glance it seems Choi and Pietrangelo got re-arrested along with 2 sailors, an airman, and a marine.
For those unfamiliar with military law, it is a crime to participate in a political action while in uniform. While the actions of Choi, Pietrangelo, and the others may seem brave to the civilian world, I must condemn their actions. Choi was given the greatest opportunity of any soldier, he was found out to be gay and was still retained by his unit. Twice now he has fucked up and gotten arrested while protesting in uniform. I see no way that the Army retains him and he will likely face both civil and military prosecution.
So I thought about the reason I came down on LT Choi so hard last week, and I realized the answer is simple. In my opinion, Choi has thrown away something that so many other people want: to serve in the Army (or more broadly the Armed Forces).
Choi always claimed that he wanted to stay with his NY National Guard unit. However, his actions these past few months have not backed up his claims.
When I was threatened with dismissal from the Army, it might have been the scariest few weeks of my life. I won’t reveal why I was going to be dismissed, but I will admit that the threat was enough for me to make a couple life altering decisions about myself. I feel like I made the commitment to fight to stay in, so I don’t know why Choi isn’t doing so either.
This article describes how famous pop-star Lady Gaga held a strap-on near her crotch on the front cover of Q, a British music magazine. There were rumors prior to this that Lady Gaga may be intersexed but rather than running away from the rumor, she played along with it.
This is an article (with video) from queerty.com detailing how African-American lesbian Wanda Sykes discussed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with comedian Bill Maher and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Sykes makes the comment that although gays are in the military, they are not Rupaul gays, but “Brokeback gays.”
How could I skip this article? It explains how our beloved state of Maryland could soon recognize outside same-sex marriages. This could only happen, however, if: “Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation; the Court of appeals ruled to allow it; or through the regulations of state agencies.”
These articles, all found on queer news sources, demonstrates the variety of information regarding LGBT matters. The first article about Lady Gaga’s strap-on is fascinating because she has been deemed by many as intersexed, the perceived ultimate taboo. Rather than running from the rumor, she embraces it on the front cover of a magazine. Her status in the LGBT community is well-respected as she is an outspoken proponent of equality. The second link is significant because it demonstrates much of society’s public outcry of the DADT policy. Many late night comedians such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have lashed out against the policy but Bill Maher’s inclusion of a lesbian informs viewers that queer people (and in this case an African-American woman) are no different than everyone else (despite what many conservatives believe). The last article is an example of the many queer policies being discussed and debated by lawmakers and these cover important information that affects the lives of queer citizens (“How will this affect
me?”). Some of these items may be regarded as national news (Prop 8 in California) but other stories like this one may make local news.
The New York Times, “Gay NY Teen’s Harassment Suit Gets Federal Notice”
On February 4, 2010, The New York Times published an online article by the Associated Press about a homosexual harassment case in Mohawk case. Jacob, an eighth grade student, is seeking to halt harassment with the filing of a lawsuit against the Mohawk school district with the New York Civil Liberties Union. The Department of Justice also asked to intervene with the suit considering that Jacob was denied equal protections guaranteed under the Constitution and “under Title IX, the antidiscrimination law affecting schools that receive federal funding.”
The Washington Post, “More Tolerance for gay troops as end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is debated”
On February 10, 2010, The Washington Post published an online article by Ernesto Londono about the lifting of “don’t ask, don’t tell” within the military. Soldiers and military officials have never had to outright say their sexual orientation, and even if “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, many say they would keep things the way they are. There is a fear of being looked at or their work being evaluated on a different level merely because of their sexual orientation.
DC Agenda, “LGBT Democrats defend Obama at DNC winter meeting”
On Febrary10, 2010, DC Agenda published an online article by Lou Chibbaro Jr. about the support of President Obama by a portion of the LGBT community. They are satisfied with his efforts over the past year in regards to the LGBT and queer movement in the United States, though Congress is reluctant, or “slow” to pass many queer-related bills.
The Advocate.com, “First Openly Gay man recommended for Federal Judge”
On February 9, 2010, The Advocate published an online article by Julie Bolcer about an openly gay man, Daniel Alter, recommended to be a Federal Judge for the first time in history. Senator Chuck Schumer recommends him beyond his qualifications as a judge, but to make history in a positive way.
Many sources, including conservation ones, publish queer/race news. The underlining “problem” however, is from the perspective in which it is being written. The primary difference between primarily queer publications and mainstream news publications go beyond the depth of queer/race news, but to whom it is broadcasted and exactly how queer news is depicted. Publications like the New York Times and Washington Post use the word “gay,” often the unwanted term of LGBT individuals, to portray its news both online and in print. On the other hand, queer friendly news uses the term “queer” in articles to exhibit what the majority of the LGBT community finds appropriate.
Therefore, I searched both Queer-related publications, as well as mainstream news publications to have significant data to compare and contrast. I selected these specific articles because of the breath of information and the way it is presented. The queer-related publications show queer-related news in a positive, forward-moving light in all aspects, whereas the mainstream news publications focus on the LGBT community with relation to the law. The effect queer/race understanding within the way it is written and what the articles are truly about. Most people do not read queer-related publications like The Advocate and The DC Agenda, but rather The New York Times and The Washington Post. This forces readers to have a very skewed perception of queer-related news and knowledge, only referring to it as “gay” news, and not the LGBT acceptable “queer.”
Queer News This Week…..
This brief article found on 365gay.com is titled “North: If gays can serve openly, pedophiles are next”, which discusses the repealing of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy and Oliver North’s opinion that if homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, the next step is for violators of the law, more extremely put, “pedophiles are next”.
In this video, found on the FoxNewsElectionHQ channel on youtube, an anchor discusses the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy” and the possibility of it being repealed. I originally found a similar video on the Queers United blog, but went to further search videos that provided more information about the issue. It also provides further support to the first link provided, showing Oliver North speak candidly about his opinion on the possible banishment of the policy. While he doesn’t make reference to his statement about “pedophiles”, we do see that he refutes the repealing of the policy, describing that Barack Obama’s hope to get rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a “stunning assault on the all volunteer military” and that it also treats “homosexuals as lab rats in a radical social experiment”. Though he attempts to make it seem as though getting rid of the policy is somehow cruel to homosexuals and is more of an “experiment”, it is clear that Oliver North is more worried about homosexuals serving in the military and breaking a ridiculous tradition and rule that is embedded in the U.S. Code that he quotes within the video.
While my sexuality as a heterosexual female is not put in jeopardy by this law, it amazes and angers me that sexuality in any situation would be put into any “U.S. Code” as a concern or threat. Army is about National Security as Oliver North has stated, but what does the security of a country have to do with the sexuality of those fighting? Does this take away from their ability to fight and admirably serve for their country?
Here’s another article that I found on the 365gay.com website. This article speaks about Anwar Ibrahim, a Malaysia opposition leader who was accused of sodomy, an act considered illegal, even when consensual, in Malaysia. Ibrahim was convicted of having sex with a man for not the first time, which initially earned him six years spent in jail, but for the second time. Ibrahim feels as though because of his position as a politic leader, his charges have been more severe and unfair; he assumes that along with all the publicity of the trial, the government no longer wants him in office.
Each of these articles directly relate to politics and reveal how uncomfortable society is concerning homosexuality. In the first article, Oliver North basically makes an outlandish comparison between homosexuality and pedophilia, saying that if homosexuals are allowed to serve for their countries, pedophiles will be next. The second video, Oliver North makes it clear of his belief that homosexuals being able to serve openly in the military are an insult to other heterosexual men serving in the army, as if homosexuals are unsuitable. The third article is similar, Anwar Ibrahim’s activities behind closed doors immediately cause others discomfort, and ultimately make him unsuitable to serve for his country.
As a heterosexual female, I can only imagine how it would feel and how difficult it would be for something as natural and beyond my control as my sexuality to be a determinant of what I can or cannot do, or what I am capable of. It seems scarily similar to race issues in the past; people being “incapable” or “unwanted”, simply because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, or nationality. The insulting and implied comparison of homosexuals to “pedophiles”, sick minded individuals, could make no homosexual man or woman feel any more ostracized from society than a criminal. These articles just highlight the difficulties of being “queer”, of being at odds with what is considered the majority. It highlights how difficult it would be to live openly in a society not completely ready to accept, and in contrast, how difficult it still is to live privately. To be queer seems to be a catch 22.
– Brittany Britto