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.
The article, “Equality in the Military” proves that we need every able-bodied soldier serving in the military, whether gay or straight. It has taken many years to progress in a positive way for gays and lesbians in the military, but it is slowly but surely changing. If you serve in the military you should not have to hide your sexual preference. You are serving a job and should not be looked upon differently because of that.
Across the world in London, homosexual partners are granted the right in marriage. The Clerical belief of the Anglican Church was the importance of religion and marriage, not of sexual orientation. They have realized that it is more important to celebrate the promise of religion and “to deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory.”
The U.S. military and people of the Anglican Church are not the only ones celebrating a piece of freedom. Pensioner, Ba Li, celebrates his 72nd birthday with his boyfriend after living years of being imprisoned for his sexuality. Ba Li is hopeful for the future of the gay and lesbian community, despite the hardships he’s had to face in the past. Although the community is slowly progressing, he believes that “people now enjoy more freedom than ever to express their sexuality” than ever in the past.
These three current events really stood out to me because they are all interlinked in the LGBT community as a celebration of progression. As shown in these three different articles, I believe that it is most important that we celebrate the progression of freedom. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about the setbacks, instead we should acknowledge them and see how we can move onward from them.
It is interesting to me that people the U.S. are not the only ones facing progression with gay and lesbian movements. As a world, and within each own’s culture, people within the gay and lesbian community face a discrimination whether dealing with the politics, religion, or acceptance of their culture.
I would simulate the first article in comparison to discrimination in the workplace. It’s not about your sexual preference, it’s about your ability to preform your job. It is such a sickening discrimination to separate someone from the military because of that. I’m glad that we are moving forward with removing that rule in the military. As for the marriage of gays and lesbians within the Church, I agree with the fact that marriage should be more an important celebration of religion (if applicable). As for the story of Ba Lai in China, it is an extremely hopeful and celebratory story. If more and more gays and lesbians can celebrate their freedom in a country that was once so repressed and against gays and lesbians, then the world will be moving in a positive direction. As I am Chinese-American, I have not dealt with such harsh environments, but knowing some background knowledge of the Chinese I am proud that they are moving forward from ignorance.
Around the World Over the Week:
Pretty self-explanatory—clerics of England’s Anglican church called for an end of the ban on gay marriage at religious locales. They cited that gay couples are denied the same rights as straight couples in this regards.
A 72-year-old man celebrates his birthday by recalling the shift in attitudes towards homosexuals in China over the course of his life. Chinese policy is still inconsistent, but shifting in the direction of toleration and education.
The US Defense Chief voices his concerns about lifting the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military. His rationale being that being in two wars over the span of eight years is not the proper time for such talk…essentially.
Being Episcopalian myself (the US part of the Anglican Church), the first article is something of interest. The US media has a tendency to expose anyone from beauty pageant contestants to Republicans that can claim the Bible specifically states something against gay marriage—you know, minus the whole “clear-cut citation” part. Over in Great Britain, Anglican clerics are calling for a repeal of bans preventing gay couples to marry in their church, labeling it as “discriminatory.” Waheed Alli, the first openly gay member of Britain’s House of Lords is to propose an amendment to the equality legislation to allow gays to marry on a religious premise, and to allow religious contexts to appear in civil union ceremonies. As far as Christian communions go, Anglicans are the third largest group behind Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.
On the other side of the other ocean bordering the US, a man celebrates the progress China has made towards gay rights. Ba Li (pseudonym) has faced hardship and oppression in his country from family members to public humiliation. He was sentenced to a hard labor camp in the late 70s until the mid-80s for sodomy. When he was released, he was jobless, but volunteered within the increasingly active gay community to promote AIDs prevention. He witnessed the laws forbidding sodomy repealed in the 90s, and in 2001 homosexuality was officially no longer labeled a mental illness in China. Family pressure and public distaste still is a cause for concern, with many admitting to having suffered abuse over their sexuality. Secrecy is another seeming popular call, with the Chinese favoring silence. The government has, however, taken some measures to study the spread of HIV and AIDs and to educate the public on tolerance.
Meanwhile in the US, high-ranked officers express their concerns over allowing gays to serve openly in the military. With vague words, they believe that it would be upsetting in the midst of two wars that have lasted eight years to “complicate” matters. Those are the details they have given. The “how/why/what” in regards to details is a little unclear.