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.
I had some major difficulties trying to come up with this blog post — I hate when people say they’re not creative, because everyone is good at expressing something in some unique way, but I really felt like the color “magenta.” I’m not sure if many of you frequent the Lifetime circuit or are well-versed in your Golden Girls episodes, but Blanche (the “youngest” older woman explains her feeling like the color “magenta” because she’s a mix of all different emotions and colors inside.) This is close as I could come to describing my feeling about this post.
So, I felt, why not try and put the magenta on the paper.
Now, the following picture is my interpretation of my experiences with the LGBT community. Some of the photos I chose were purposefully stereotyped (i.e. Elton John and Rosie) and others were ones that I found interesting. I also picked dominant institutions that shape individuals’ lives, schools, the church, military, pop culture, and applied them to the knowledge I’ve acquired while in this course. I wanted the image to illustrate conflicting and sarcastic views of queer life (see comic strip), bright and more eye-catching photos (see Hollywood Blvd. and the HIV/Aids condom) and conversation pieces (see “Hate, it’s taught.” and “Out Ranks”.)
I kind of felt that a lot of what I was throwing down on the page was like an erupting gay volcano full of glitter, once it started, there was no stopping it and everything was covered. Most of the images I selected I already had an idea of the direction I wanted to take, but others kind of fell into my lap. For instance, the “Out ranks” one was where I was “Googling” gays and the military. There were some interesting links that popped up on the sites too, things like “Gay teleconferencing” and an “exclusive web offer to cleanse gays of their religious sins.” It was interesting to see the tags and how the images were filtered down…i.e. search the words “gay in school” and there’s an interesting article on a Maryland delegate that wants all LGBT sites blocked in schools. This made me reflect on how people search and what their motives are for searching on the internet. (i.e. are they searching to learn more, or searching to reinforce ideas/stereotypes?).
Despite my first “magenta” feelings, this was an awesome project — I thought I’d tie in my original magenta ring of mixed emotions around the images to show the lump sum of my work. Hope you enjoy!
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.
This article provides insight into the debate concerning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with the U.S. Military. The article argues that quickly changing the policy proves to not be as disruptive as political leaders may assume. Studies show that in foreign military, the queer population did not cause consequences that some Americans fear. The part of the article that I found most interesting was the comment made by the governor of Minnesota: “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
This short article speaks about Hudson Taylor, a UMD wrestler. Although he identifies as straight and is engaged to his girlfriend, Taylor feels a strong need to stand up for LGBT rights. Because of his strong opinions regarding LGBT issues, others often label him as gay.
This article speaks about a battle between teachers and parents in B.C. Canadian teachers have received a sheet that helps them confront parents who are not happy with their inclusion of homosexual teachings in their curriculum. The parents have written responses to the teachers that support homosexual teachings. Parents argue that they support the teachers explaining such issues as race or disability because those are not a choice. These parents argue that homosexuality is a choice and that the teachers do not have the right to teach about it without their consent.
I picked the first article because although it does not deal specifically with the crossover of race and queerness, I feel that it mirrors racial issues that America dealt with during the Civil Rights Movement. I think that many people might sit next to people of other races in schools and have no connection to the times of Brown vs. Board of Education, yet only fifty years ago these same issues regarding the speed of racial integration and how it would effect our schools were present in this country. Now, we are dealing with the speed of integrating Gay individuals into the military. I also personally am intrigued by the Governor’s remark, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” This reminds me of the point of view of segregationists during the Civil Rights Movement who felt that things were fine as they were.
The second article reminded me of the discussion pertaining to the idea of self-definition of queer versus queer labels given by society. Hudson Taylor is not queer, yet because of his stance for LGBT rights, others label him queer.
Lastly, the final article challenges what it means to be queer or a particular race. Rather than exploring their cross-over, the parents from the school in B.C. form a clear distinction between the two, stating that race is not a behavior, whereas homosexuality is. This speaks a lot to how these particular individuals view race-queer living now. To them, the main argument stems from the idea of choice and that unlike things such as disability or race, queerness can be prevented.
I believe there is a lack of information/articles/studies available concerning the way that race and sexuality are viewed in the military. It would be interesting to see what parallels could be drawn between any judgement or abnormal treatment homosexual members of the armed services receive, versus any oppression or racism that military members who are of a minority race receive. Black soldiers have been an important part of our country’s military history and successes, and most likely there were many homosexual soldiers as well, but during times when it would have been “taboo” or considered “innapropriate” to be open about one’s sexuality. This still exists today in the armed forces. I think that there is an interesting relationship between these two minorities in the armed services. What is okay to talk about within the armed services, and what is considered “wrong” or “unspeakable”? What justices and oppressions have been put upon minority races and homosexuals in the armed forces for the past 300 years?
Recently, the armed forces have decided to allow women in submarine units, since they had been banned before. Some critics, who are very in front of the media and heard by “the people” have asked, well what happens when these women get pregnant on the submarines? Why is that an assumption? Are we animals, that if you put a woman and a man together she will end up being pregnant? It’s obviously not ok to the army for men to be having sex with each other in the submarine but no one gets pregnant, so no one talks about it? I thought that this would make a great discussion for class, and the assumptions of sociology and sexual activity by homophobic institutions.
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