As you know if you’ve read many of my diatribes I have no problems with gay people (‘people’ = meaning individuals, not activists or activist organizations).
When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ went away in the military I didn’t tweet ‘OMG, Horrible’ like some of the irrational folks have done in similar circumstances. We all have sexual identities and we are all (supposedly) adults who SHOULD be able to deal, in a civilized manner, with people and situations that challange our behavioral beliefs. That, in the proverbial “nut shell” is the basis of most (not all) predjudice: challenges to our preconceptions and beliefs. Just to be clear, no one need change their personal beliefs but to function in our American ‘melting pot’ it is very conductive to realize (and act on that realization) that differences in behavior are not a direct challenge to what you believe they are simply expressions of someone else’s beliefs and in a free society that is not (or should not be) a problem; if it is an insurmountable problem, you have options..
Gays, Lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered all exist as a part of our society. I firmly believe that they didn’t ask or choose to live a life of exclusion, ostricization or separation from the majority (and in some cases from their families), but there they are: living that life! People who suffer from mental illnesses, autism, Down’s syndrome , etc. certainly didn’t choose to live and, in some sectors of society, be treated as outcasts. Being looked at and teated as “different” may not be “fair”, but so much in life can be looked at like that — if, that is, you choose to look at it as “unfair” instead of seeing it as a harsh reality to be dealt with. Man, by his very nature, cannot easily accept differences that challange to his beliefs and, because of his nature , man is not “fair”. (He or she was also “born THAT way! LOL)
The previous was in reference to society in general where you can choose your friends and enemies and choose hundreds of other things that effect your everyday life; now on to the miilitary where many choices have been voluntarily given up. In the military, many choices can not in fact even be ‘on the table’ ; the rules of this “closed society” are very different for very valid reasons.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that he is willing to “review the military ban on transexuals.” Well a review never hurts as long as the results of that review reflect practical reality and not just people’s preferences, sensitivities, political objectives and/or obsequence to pressure groups (not that I would ever suggest that such things will be a consideration in this review! :-)).
A May 12th article on “thewire.com” describes and quotes from an appearance Sec. Hagel made on ABC’s Sunday news show “This Week.” It’s apparent from this interview that Sec, Hagel IS willing to review the military ban on transgendered military service but he appears dubious.
Here’s a surprise for some of you: I am also dubious!
In that “This Week” appearance Sec. Hagel is quoted as follows:
<blockquote> “The issue of transgender is a bit more complicated, because it has a medical component to it. These issues require medical attention. Austere locations where we put our men and women in many cases, don’t always provide that kind of opportunity. I do think it continually should be reviewed. I’m open to that, by the way. I’m open to those assessments, because, again, I go back to the bottom line. Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.”</blockquote>
The Secretary went on to discuss “psychosexual” conditions”
<blockquote> “Current or history of psychosexual conditions, including, but not limited to transsexualism, exhibitionism, transvestism, voyeurism, and other paraphilias, do not meet the standard.”</blockquote>
(The “standard” to which Sec. Hagel is referring is the military “Standard of Medical Fitness”
[Wow! I learned a new word: paraphilias! Look it up! Wikipedia has a whole list of them! ]
Back to the article: I completely agree with the quotes from Sec. Hagel and will go just a bit further. In ‘my view’, transexuals, unless they have been completely sexually reassigned and have been able to cope responsibly for some period of time with the results of this reassignment , may be a danger to themselves and others and should not be allowed to serve in a confined, rigid atmosphere like a military organization.
Transsexuals, in my view, are a world apart from gays, lesbians or bisexuals who are openly gay; these individuals are, in the majority of cases, coping with and content with who they are and in the vast majority of cases ‘who they are’ does not effect their understanding of normative rules of behavior or their understanding of the need for those rules.
Bottom line: If you have problems coping with who you are or have reservations with the military, their customs, their rules or their very reason for being: don’t join. If you do join, and you have a problem with something a basic as your sexuality, you are being very irresponsible.