Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't Ask Don't Tell...

Last night the l993 law, Don't Ask Don't Tell, that's existed since the Clinton administration, was repealed. In short, this law meant that gays could only be in the military if they were in the closet. News organizations tend to lighten the description of this. But I'd rather call it what it is: forcing gays to remain closeted and in a self-loathing state of mind designed to induce fear.

You can read the full article here. And below I've taken out a few important parts and commented so people fully understand what this means and how there are still a few unresolved issues. I'm thrilled about the appeal. But there is still a long way to go.

There also will be no immediate changes to eligibility standards for military benefits. All service members already are entitled to certain benefits and entitlements, such as designating a partner as one's life insurance beneficiary or as designated caregiver in the Wounded Warrior program.

Gay marriage is one of the thornier issues. An initial move by the Navy earlier this year to train chaplains about same-sex civil unions in states where they are legal was halted after more than five dozen lawmakers objected. The Pentagon is reviewing the issue.

As you can see, this repeal still doesn't grant complete equal rights to gays in the military. If you're a gay couple in the military benefits are just as important to you as they are to straight couples. And, although legalizing same sex marriage in certain states has helped a great deal, gays in the military are still considered second class citizens and the military clearly won't recognize them.

A leading advocate, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said Monday the repeal is overdue.

"Our nation will finally close the door on a fundamental unfairness for gays and lesbians, and indeed affirm equality for all Americans," the California Democrat said.

The key word in this statement is "a." Because the door was only closed on one fundamental unfairness, not all...especially on a federal level. And while this repeal is certainly something to celebrate. It's by no means time to stop fighting for complete equal rights. And the only way to do this is to let the politicians know it. In the next election our vote will count, so will our contributions. And I've changed the way I vote and contribute in the last four years.

Below is an e-mail I received from a gay friend. I asked his permission to post it here, verbatim, and he granted me that permission. I'm doing it to show how strongly gay people feel about this issue, and also because I doubt the mainstream media will print anything like this. There's also a sense of cynicism here that worries me. And this isn't the only friend I have who feels this way.

Time for celebration? I don't think so, maybe a little, maybe. Here we go again, this will be played up as a victory for gays, especially a political one, but let us NOT forget that we are NOT equal, not even with the repeal of DADT:

"There also will be no immediate changes to eligibility standards for military benefits. All service members already are entitled to certain benefits and entitlements, such as designating a partner as one's life insurance beneficiary or as designated caregiver in the Wounded Warrior program."

In simple terms, if you want your "partner" to live on a military base...NOPE

If you want your partner to have health benefits.....NOPE

If you want your partner to have counseling ........NOPE

If you want your partner to get education benefits......NOPE

If you want to kiss your partner in public.......NOPE

All we got is being able to say "I'm gay" and assurance you will not get kicked out of the closet.

So, if you are straight in the military, you get everything. Being gay, you only get being a beneficiary to a life insurance policy.

Is it me or is this a "shut-up and go-away"? Gays to the back of the tank.

Go figure.


mary gresham said...

Ryan, I felt the same way as your friend does. Until something is done about the defense of marriage act, it's not going to change all that much for anyone. Sure, they can be open about who they are without the fear of being kicked out but married gays should have all the same rights as a straight couple does, it will never be ok until they do.

ryan field said...

I figured it was important to post this here. We aren't getting the full story from the mainstream press because everything is so politically oriented and geared toward the next election. And this is on both sides, not just one side.

Lisa Lane said...

I am astounded by the continued discrimination that occurs in this country under the guise of religious rights. I just don't get it. People are people, love is love, partnership is partnership. Whose right is it to say their beliefs should rule everyone?

Some people wonder why I wrote mostly hetero, but have at least one or two homosexual and/or bisexual characters/couples in all of my erotica series. Why I do it: because we're all in this together--and I don't think erotica should discriminate either. ;-)

ryan field said...

I just get frustrated when they throw us a bone and expect us to jump up and down as if we're thrilled. Maybe I'm being too impatient, but I want it all.

Thanks for commenting :)

mary gresham said...

This is what a friend of my son posted on facebook and my reply to him, i will share the whole thing with you on there Ryan:

Donald M
lol okay next is coed showers since I'm forced to get completely naked infront of a gay man while he checks me out I should at least have the option to check out a chick butt naked to. Just saying!

Mary Gresham Donald, believe me, they are not going to be doing it any more than they were before. They are still the same people they've always been. Not going to get into an argument with you, but I'm telling you, if they weren't interested before, they're not going to be now. It not something you can catch, either you are or you aren't. So, chill out, it will be ok.