You Don't Have to Ask... I'll Just Tell You

Sorry for so many posts in one, but I'll try to be quick. On Saturday, I attended ChillFest which is a monthly viewing party for mostly gay and lesbian movies/documentaries. This month they screened a movie called "Ask Not". As you can probably already guess, it was focused on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the US Army.

Prior to the movie, this policy seemed to make since to me and I didn't quite understand what the big deal was about it. I figured, if you aren't sexually active while serving in the military then how would anyone really know anyway. Well, let's just say that I had my eyes opened this past weekend. I didn't think about the psychological abuse that you may receive from the other soldiers with teasing or their cadences that talk about "fags" being weak (yes they showed several troops shouting them in training). Most soldiers during their training and military career begin some type of psychological evaluation with trying to cope with a more aggressive way of life, post-traumatic stress, or coping with living without their loved ones, etc. Straight soldiers can discuss how they miss their wifes, girlfriends, etc, however, if a gay/lesbian discloses this information even to a psychiatrist, can have it used against them. I didn't realize that the military will take any letters that you receive from loved ones and use that against you. They also will tap into phone calls of yours. Now, when I say use it against you, I mean towards a "Dishonorable Discharge". I remember my father being in the military and if ever you have a dishonorable discharge, you can kiss every really having a decent job good bye. Not only in the military but back in civilian life!!! This will also disqualify you of your military benefits including retirement and/or educational benefits.

On top of all of this, there was a shortage of linguists at the time of 9/11. The military discharged more than what was needed to fill that shortage simply because they were gay. Many of them are fluent in Arabic and could have easily translated the threats prior to 9/11. To add insult to injury, the US would rather enlist people with felonies than accept qualified gay/lesbian troops.

After viewing the documentary I have to admit that I am compelled to become more active in gay/lesbian rights.