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A Gay Military

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A Gay Military

Now don't get me wrong. I'm secure about my sexuality, but there are a lot of people who are not. What would you do if you knew that the Soldier that fights for your freedom was gay? Would that bother you? Probably not. But as a Soldier, I know that there are many that do not like the idea. Most male Soldiers do not like the fact of someone gay being in the shower next to them. It makes them feel uneasy. If you were in an open shower and the person standing next to you was gay, what would your reaction be? It's hard to really say what you would do until you have been there. When I was in that situation, I must admit it felt weird at first. But as I started to think about it, I've showered next to this guy for almost a year and didn't know. So why should it bother me now? Well after that ran though my head, I was able to relax again.

Since Don't Ask Don't Tell [DADT] has been repealed, the challenges implementing the new policy into the military will be enormous. Any openly gay person serving in today's testosterone- laden military should expect some rough times during the initial stages of allowing them to serve their country. The United States military has shown throughout its history that people will oppose changes of this magnitude and possibly make matters harder than they have to be. To understand how the repeal of the [DADT] will go smoothly, we must look back at the struggles women and African Americans had to endure when they were first allowed to serve. The military as a whole has a culture that promotes cooperation. Openly gay soldiers will struggle during the early stages, but today's military is more intelligent than any other era in military history so transitioning this time around should not be as malicious or demeaning. The military developed rules and training to ease the transition of openly gays serving. The transition will happen, but not without its trials that women and African Americans had to go through also.

Women have faced many challenges since they first joined the ranks. According to retired Air Force Captain Barbra A. Wilson, women in the U.S. military have always had a "tough row to hoe" and women today owe a lot to those women who literally broke ground, opened doors, and made the choice of a military career easier for those who followed Wilson. Through it all, women have earned ample opportunities to serve in every facet with the exception of a few. According to a Military advisory panel report, the Navy changed its rules over the last year to allow women to serve on submarines for the first time. Military advisory panel report et al (2010) concludes that women are barred from certain combat assignments in all the services but face the broadest restrictions in the Army and Marines.

In comparison, where women had and in some cases, still have assignment restrictions, gays (military classifies both male and females in the same category) will not have to face these issues. The tormenting from sailors, airmen, soldiers and marines may be unbearable and they will be the butts of verbal and practical jokes. This will be especially true in jobs that are male dominated and considered combative. The military has implemented policies, procedures and training to help with the understanding with the repeal of [DADT]. Society and service members alike have demanded the [DADT] policy change and Congress has answered their call (Repeal [DADT] Now, 2010). Change is on the horizon and now the gay military population will have to deal with what they have begged for. As compared to the voyage of the military woman, the path of openly gay soldiers will not be all that similar from a job restriction standpoint, but they will have many issues to endure moving forward.

African Americans service members have also encountered a challenging path throughout their military history as well. Black service members were completely segregated during their initial entry. They worked, lived and ate in completely different areas than their white counterparts (MacGregor, M.). Can the military segregate the gay service members from the rest to safeguard them in the 21ST Century? Can an openly gay male share the same living quarters as a heterosexual male without incident? Can gay and straight soldiers coexist with open showers and bunks during training exercises? How will unit cohesion and camaraderie be impacted? These are valid concerns that must be considered and addressed prior to allowing openly gay service members to serve. The armed forces are filled with homophobic members that will not hesitate to harm someone because of their beliefs and/or sexual orientation.

If segregation wasn't enough for the African American service members to endure, the blatant racism had to push them to the brink. According to McMichael, W. H., today's military integrated, but racism still exists. (Originated from MILITARY-3-PIONEERS-ADV28:NN) Racial slurs geared toward blacks ran rampant throughout the military as recent as thirteen years ago. According to Baldor, L., sixty years after



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