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Opinion: Why repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' isn't enough
After celebreating the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' U.S. Army veteran Rob Smith says there's more work to do.
November 11th, 2011
09:46 AM ET

Opinion: Why repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' isn't enough

Editor’s note: Rob Smith is a writer, lecturer and openly gay U.S. Army veteran.  His work has appeared in USA Today, The Huffington Post, Metro Weekly and Slate.com.  His memoir "Secret Soldier:  Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Army" will be released in the fall 2012, and he is a contributing author to "For Colored Boys ...," an anthology to be released in March.  He can be reached at www.robsmithonline.com and twitter.com/robsmithonline.

By Rob Smith, Special to CNN

(CNN) - On September 20, I cheered with gay and lesbian soldiers, veterans and allies alike when “don’t ask, don’t tell” was officially repealed, signaling the seeming end of a decades-long fight against anti-gay discrimination in the U.S. military.

As a five-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a gay man, I know firsthand the discrimination and casual homophobia the law legitimized.  While stationed in Colorado as a 17-year-old Army private, I struggled with suicidal thoughts due to the isolation it caused, and found myself on the receiving end of some of the anti-gay language and bullying that the mere presence of the law ingrained into the culture.

More recently, my role in the fight against “don’t ask, don’t tell” has taken me from the steps of Capitol Hill, where I lobbied for the repeal, to my arrest at the front gates of the White House, where I demanded it. I was an invited guest at the Department of Interior ceremony where the final repeal legislation was signed by President Barack Obama.

However, a closer look at the facts reveals work that remains to be done.  Indeed, there are a few particularly disturbing ways in which the LGBT community remains vulnerable within the U.S. military, despite the fact that the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a legislated reality – the law of the land.

The biggest pothole in 2010’s winding road to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal was the dropping of the nondiscrimination clause in regard to gay and lesbian soldiers.  A disturbing consequence is that even with repeal, gays and lesbians remain an unprotected class in the U.S. military.

One need only look at the GOP presidential debate audience in Orlando, where they booed a gay soldier asking about the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to realize that anti-gay sentiment doesn’t simply disappear with the repeal of a homophobic law.  It is this lack of protection that will give some gay and lesbian soldiers pause when deciding whether to come out in their ranks.  Furthermore, it could potentially embolden homophobes in the military to subtly discriminate against gay and lesbian soldiers in regards to matters like promotions and salary increases, discrimination against which they as of now have no legal recourse.

Speaking of legal recourse, a recently filed lawsuit shines a harsh light on another gaping hole in equality for gay and lesbian soldiers:  the lack of spousal benefits for same-sex partners.  While the issue is indicative of a much larger fight against the Defense of Marriage Act, and for gay marriage, it remains a critical vulnerability for gay and lesbian service members and their partners, civilian or military.  In the midst of two wars, it is condescending and disingenuous to ignore the spouses of those who have been serving in silence for so long.  To do so places gay and lesbian soldiers and their partners into “separate but equal” status.

Though they are now acknowledged and free to live openly with their service member spouses, civilian partners are still denied benefits like medical coverage and ID cards that allow them to travel freely on bases. When both partners in a gay or lesbian relationship are serving on active duty, they currently have no recourse against different base assignments.  Heterosexual married U.S. military couples can  - and do - arrange to serve near one another, and in many cases they are encouraged and given support by military leadership.

Finally, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal has focused on the lesbian, gay and bisexual service members while precious little conversation was had about the transgender service members who remain affected by discrimination within the ranks.  While the gay, lesbian and bisexual contingent of the community celebrates repeal, transgender people are still forced to serve in silence in a military that doesn’t understand, respect or acknowledge their service.  As it stands now, repeal comes at the expense of the transgender community.

True equality for LGBT people in the U.S. military will not come without a nondiscrimination policy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, full benefits for same-sex couples, and removal of the ban on open service by transgender individuals.  The “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal cannot be seen as anything other than the first step. Gay and lesbian soldiers won’t be fired for being gay, but they remain unable to receive the benefits their heterosexual counterparts get and legally vulnerable to homophobic discrimination. They exercise their freedom to tell at the cost of the continued silence of transgender soldiers.

The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is not equality.  It isn’t enough and it isn’t the end of the fight for equal rights for LGBT soldiers and veterans in the U.S. military.

It is the beginning.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rob Smith.

soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. jusme101@mail.com

    Rather than earn respect, it's easier to snivel they're gay.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Theguy

    What real problems?

    November 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Desert Storm Vet

    (/sarcasm on)
    5 Reasons Why Gays in the Military is Wrong

    1) Being gay is not natural. Real service members always reject unnatural things like body armor, camouflage clothing, and vaccinations.

    2) Gay service members will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

    3) Gays in the military is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

    4) Gay service members will change the foundation of the military; it could never adapt to new social norms. Just like they haven't adapted to APCs, indoor plumbing, or electronic communication.

    5) The military has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women can't fly planes, blacks still can't serve with whites, and all ships still run on wind power.

    /sarcasm off

    November 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. YNOT

    Wow. Reading all of this will make you crazy! Here is the bottom line on this issue. NO ONE CARES. Serve your country and shut the hell up. But that is not good enough is it? You want to be openly gay and make others accept that with their heart and mind like the military is a social experiment. The military is too important to have this from the G&L community. So just serve, shut up and handle this countries business like a professional and do whatever it is you do on your own time as a free American.

    November 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jusme101@mail.com

      EXACTLY.

      November 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. im out

    i have been serving in the military for a few years now and i am bi. Even with the repeal i did not want to come out to everyone but i did come out to friends. I realized no one cares and finally came out. out of my 1000 friends on facebook only 5 deleted me as a friend and i dont care. 1 of them was military and to be honest he doesnt belong in the military in the first place. Another one of them has been kicked out of the air force for being racist. I dont care if there are not benifits if i get married because i didnt join for the benifits i joined to serve my country, i didnt join so i could come out it just happened the repeal made it easy, i didnt join for my fellow servicemen to not have my back because of my preference, if you have a problem with serving your country with GBL then please do us all a favor and get out when you can and live your life where no one can see you or hear from you again.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Grace

    As usual, when you don't agree that something is as Black or White as CNN wants you to believe, they don't post your opinions. Instead of calling the parties the Democrats and Republicans. They should respectfully be called CNN and FAUX news or Black and White, with the American citizens being GRAY (Independent).

    November 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jusme101@mail.com

    Agreed.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. aNN

    is everybody gay now?

    November 15, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • jusme101@mail.com

      Just the weak minded individuals that need the attention.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. warmesTghosT

    That's because you're an ignorant bigot, dear. Have a great day!

    November 15, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • jusme101@mail.com

      Dear, dear... Nope... Just exercising my right to, "Just Say No".... To disagree with the gay lifestyle is not to be a bigot... It's to have an opinion. Gee, sounds like my right eh???

      November 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HarpoNotMarxist

    Steven in Chas.

    I believe, based on my poor memory, that Loving did not say that Marriage was a right. It did say that states did not have the right to discrimate against parites marrying based on race.

    See:

    http://www.examiner.com/science-religion-politics-in-national/u-s-supreme-court-ruled-1972-that-marriage-laws-do-not-deny-equal-protection

    November 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven in Charleston

      Read the case. It states in no uncertain terms that marriage is a fundamental civil right.

      http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=388&invol=1

      November 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Don

        To clarify (my other post), Loving vs VA involved an interracial marriage in which the State of VA told an interracial couple they had to leave the state because of their marriage, the intent is not to say marriage is a RIGHT, but to say it is a "civil right." The ruling was made during the heyday of the "Civil Rights" movement and the ruling is entirely "Race" based. The ruling was made because it violated the 14th Amendment which guarantees "Equal Protection" (application) – which means a State law has to be applied to everyone, not selectively (which VA selectively did by saying blacks could not marry whites while other races were allowed to inter-mix which made the law uneven). To understand its intent you need to read the entire ruling (not just use a phrase). IF what you say is correct, marriage is a right for all, then ALL State laws limiting/defining marriage would be erased, right? Since the State laws were NOT erased, and DOMA is still present, the interpretation you gave has to be incorrect (deduction my dear Watson). States can limit or define a marriage as long as it applies to everyone equally (has to meet 14th Amendment criteria).

        November 15, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
      • HarpoNotMarx

        I stand correct to a point. But the issue of Loving remains race and not gender.

        November 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • jusme101@mail.com

        I'll have nothing to do with this gay B.S. Fella wants to rent, or couple wants to rent... I show them the door. Not going down that road. Again, my choice.

        November 19, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. NavyChief13

    How do we even approach the transgenger subject. How do you berth a pre-operative transgender who has breasts and a penis on a ship. Berthings have up to 90 men or women living in a compartment. We cannot give one trasngender a separate berthing just because of his/her status. That would cause hat and discontent among the crew. I do not have an issue with GLB in the military, I only care that when the poop hits the fan the person next to me will have my back.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • CathyinK

      I agree, the transgender issue is very tricky and I don't have a clue how to approach it. You will not find anyone more pro-gay rights as me but I think in this case the only recourse is to deny them service until their change is complete.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DD

    Everyone should be able to serve there country proudly – however we now must address them as Male – Female – Gay Male and Gay Female Soldiers and provide them with seperate living quarters. This is what they want to be treated equally and to serve proudly, part of that is coming forward and allowing themselves to be identified as such and having seperate barracks – I dont think it's appropriate for Males and Females to bunk together, so we should take these same measures for gays serving with our straight service men and women.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CarrotCakeMan

    I'm glad to see that in the last 24 hours only 3 anti-gays posted here. Face the fact, anti-gays, fully 80% of Americans wanted DADT revoked. Most Americans have a close family member, good friend, neighbor or coworker who is LGBT, and they will NEVER let you hurt us again.

    November 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Again, what part of the 80% has served in the military? I think most straights in the military does not want repeal of DADT

      November 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ally

        Mike, I work as a civilian for the Air Force. I know it's a small sample size but of the 300 people I work with every day I have yet to hear a single person say that they were against the repeal. It's a complete non-issue in the work place. We had gay members before the repeal and we still do now. ~shrug~

        November 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Theguy

        Actually, when surveyed, 75% of active military didn't care that DADT was being repealed. So active members are fine with it.

        November 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sane Person

        Um, plenty of them. I served for 12 years in active duty combat units. The vast majority of my soldiers couldnt care less about someone's orientation. The were far more concerned with soldiers ability to perform thier assigned tasks.

        November 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Elizabeth

        And I think you are wrong. I spent 8 years working directly with the military on military bases in the Middle East. Most of the soldiers already knew that some of their coworkers were gay and did NOT care!!! The main question was "Are they doing the job?"

        November 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetALifeAlready

      boy can't read.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jusme101@mail.com

      Wow, and that statement is 99% B.S.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Primewonk

    Why are fundiots so fixated on what gay men do in bed?

    And why in the world do they spend such an inordinate amount of time fixated on doing the dog, porking the pig, diddling daddy, boffing their brothers, or doing children?

    November 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Ignoring the childish name calling...

      No one cares what they do in their own beds. Just keep your mouth shut about it.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steven in Charleston

        When people say things like this, what they usually mean is "I can be as public as I want about my own personal life, but yours makes me uncomfortable so I want you to keep quiet about it, and as long as I can pretend that you are really straight, I'll try to not discriminate against you."

        Well, I'm sorry, but that's not good enough. There is no right to not be offended, or to not be presented with things that make you uncomfortable. If you don't like GLBT people, fine. That makes you a bit of a bigot, and your kids and grandkids will probably eventually be embarassed to be related to you, but that's your perogative. But the days of pretending we don't exist, and aren't contributing members of society are over.

        November 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • jena

        Knowing that someone is gay tells you absolutely nothing about what that person is doing in his or her own bed. No more than knowing that someone is straight tells you anything about what that person is doing in his or her own bed. I strongly doubt that anyone, gay or straight is trying to give you that information. What you think they are doing, that is in your head, comes from your imagination, may or may not have a basis in reality, and is your own issue.

        November 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Primewonk

        Bill, if someone IS a fundamentalist ld-iot, why is it wrong to call them that. If someone is left-handed, do you object to calling them left-handed?

        And why should gays have hide who they are, just because you find them icky?

        November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert

    Gay rights is the last major civil rights issue. The reactionaries who stand against equality are marching against the tide of history. As a straight man, I will say to the LGBT community: don't stop until you have achieved equality.

    November 14, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  16. total non sense

    easy solution. any one in the army making a non gay friendly comment/action is iinstantly booted out and spend a nice 10 years in military jail. Solution to most problems are so easy.........

    November 14, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Ridiculous

      That's absurd!

      November 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  17. quitcryin

    I agree with the person that said that this thread sucks!!! I guess others in the military will want their status recognized soon too.. You'd be surprised to know who is serving in the ranks right now!!

    November 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetALifeAlready

      Put em out on point in Afghanistan... Make em work for a living.... Draw fire...

      November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  18. CarrotCakeMan

    Wow, are anti-gays STILL whining about their loss in this? Face the facts, anti-gays, fully 80% of Americans wanted and GOT DADT revoked. No one cares that you are afraid of LGBT Americans. Grow up and get over it.

    November 13, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      But how much of the 80% were ever in the military?

      November 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • ElmerGantry

        Your post is non-sequiter.
        You are conflating two different statistics to conclude what you want the statistics to conclude.

        Nice try.

        November 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Erica

        I was in the military, am now medically retired. I wanted DADT gone. I want them to have the same rights as everyone else. Those who were loudest about not wanting that? Also tended to be the biggest JERKS that I had ever seen when it came to women, or anyone else they decided 'didn't fit in THEIR service'.

        November 14, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
      • CarrotCakeMan

        http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/12/most_back_repealing_dont_ask_d.html

        "Nearly eight in 10 Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll."

        November 14, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Bill the Cat

        Elmer,

        The DADT "survey" was skewed statistics at best. The questions were purposefully misleading and the results were slanted.

        November 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Aidan

        Bill,
        That's what people say when statistics don't say what they want them to say. Just because it didn't turn out the way you thought it would doesn't mean it was "misleading."

        This is the same as in the 60s when nearly half the population was opposed to interracial marriage and twenty years later such a belief is considered outlandish. The number is 80% because the more the older population dies and the younger people step in, progression occurs. Always has. Sorry that we have now progressed past you...you could catch up if you'd like, or stay on the wrong side of history. Your choice.

        November 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moi

      I would like to see the source of your comment "over 80% backed repeal of DADT". Never heard that stat, and find it hard to believe. Or are you projecting?

      November 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steven in Charleston

        80% is stretching a bit, but according to Gallup, as of December 2010, only 28% were opposed to repeal. Apparently CarrotCake isn't the one projecting.

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/145130/support-repealing-dont-ask-dont-tell.aspx

        November 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Cinnasue

        http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/12/most_back_repealing_dont_ask_d.html

        November 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Really.....80%? Then why do 39 states have an amendment saying marriage is only between a man and a woman? That does not add up to 80%, unless of course they only ask a few people (like they normally do). Really?

      November 15, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Steven in Charleston

        Don,

        Because:

        1) U.S. Population is not divided equally amongst the states.

        2) While there are a few exceptions, most of the states that have passed anti-gay marriage laws have done so by very narrow margins. If a state passes such an Amendment, we cannot assume that the population as a whole is anti-gay, just that enough to pass the Amendment were.

        3) Voting patterns frequently reflect get-out-the-vote efforts more than public opinion. The sponsors of these bills have been very crafty in determining WHEN to introduce them - frequently selecting elections where other factors increase the liklihood of high conservative turnout.

        Regardless of the votes of individual states, NUMEROUS polls have determined that the vast majority of the population favors elimination of DADT, passage of ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Agreement) and legal recognition of GLBT relationships.

        November 15, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
      • jusme101@mail.com

        and.... a vast majority of the population has nothing to do with the military.... so we give them a say anyway ??? you take the majority of military.... they don't want to have anything to do with the gay life style... this agenda is being forced upon the many by the few... Not in my command it won't.

        November 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Also, it should be noted that those who are or have served in the military are, generally speaking, more selfless than the general population. In the military, you have to learn how to get along with other people of widely differing views. I was in the Air Force for 7 years, and at one point I shared my office with a wiccan, a muslim, three athiests and an agnostic. Some Christians might find that uncomfortable, but I called these people my friends, and I would have gladly taken a bullet for any of them, and most of them felt the same way. So it's unsurprising to me that the majority of the military was behind the repealing of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, because in the military, it doesn't matter what the guy across from you believes or what he does in the bedroom. What matters is whether or not you can trust him under fire. It's actually easier to trust someone when they're free to be truthful about major cornerstones of their life instead of hiding them.

        December 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  19. DocH

    Let it go. I'm a gay service member. I'm out in my civilian life but will NEVER come out to my boys. My military choice is a career. Don't mix business with pleasure.

    November 13, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • notrealname

      Probably the smartest comment here. Thanks for your service

      November 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven in Charleston

      And I'm sure none of your "boys" EVER talk about their wives or girlfriends. You have every right to live your life as you wish. But don't pretend that you are more enlightened than others when you are showing a lot less courage bravery than many of your brethren.

      November 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Burnt Fur

        EXACTLY. You need to stand up for full equality even if it's not what you specifically need or want–or I guess if you want to sound self-involved you can keep making statements that say you got yours so who cares about anyone else?

        November 14, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
      • Bill the Cat

        Then YOU stand up for obese people's ability to serve, or admit your hypocrisy.

        November 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Wyatt

    These comments are just as bad as YouTube's, lol.

    November 12, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  21. VRage13

    I have tried to explain to everyone the special considerations and treatment the GLBT are already getting in the military but the CNN editors keep blocking it.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      Yup. Nothing is ever enough for "special" groups, as this author shows to the max.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
      • Aidan

        Actually, it's quite simple for "special" groups Gene. Enough is when we have the same that you have. You have the right to get married? So should I. You have the right to serve if you are physically fit enough to do so? So should I. You have the right to work without your supervisor being involved in your home life or making a decision about your position because of it? So should I.

        Your statement is about on par with someone in the 60s saying "The waterfountains are integrated. Isn't that enough?"

        November 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  22. RetiredMilitaryMember

    The issue of allowing transgendered people to serve openly in the military is a difficult one. Look at the sports programs in the United States. Rarely do men and women compete on the same team unless it's co-ed in nature. That's why allowing women into the Special Forces is not a good idea for many different reasons. I am a retired military member with over 30 years of service. When I was younger, I too thought women should be allowed to try out for special forces. Watching GI Jane too many times didn't help. However, as I aged in body and wisdom, I realized that positions requiring brute strength and endurance should be segregated. Just like they are in sports. If you need females to perform special force maneuvers, train a platoon or squad of women to do it. This is currently being done in the Army for special operations in Iraq & Afghanistan. Allowing a transgendered female-to-male the opportunity to apply for special forces in an all male unit could create more problems than benefits to the program. Also, who is going to supply a transgendered person with the hormones necessary to sustain his/her new gender? Should the VA be required to financially compensate for a veteran who wrecked his/her system by injecting hormones while in the military?

    November 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Do you have a logical argument on which to base your opinion? You know, the fact that you served doesn't mean that you know best.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • RetiredMilitaryMember

        Maya....have you ever served in the military? Have you ever waited for over a year for VA benefits or disability payments? The U.S. Government is currently broke! I was promised "free" medical & dental benefits in exchange for 20 or more years of good service. However, I must now pay $100 per month out of my retirement income for TRICARE & Delta Dental premiums. And also fork over $12 co-pays for doctor visits through the TRICARE system. And if I have an expensive medical procedure and live by a military base, I have to give them first right of refusal to treat me. All for the benefit of the U.S. government. So tell me....with no longitudinal studies available, how can the military and VA afford to pay for someone with breast cancer or health conditions related to hormone therapy? Why does the U.S. military discharge active or Reserve members who contract the AIDS virus? Answer: costly medical procedures and medicines. That's why it took so long to appeal DADT. The gay community was being blamed for the proliferation of the AIDS virus. President Clinton tried to change the legislature way before Obama did. Economics drive everything in this country.

        November 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

      Yes, Yes and Yes: That person is putting s/he life on the line every single day!

      We honor and support our people in the military, no matter what their gender or lack of gender!

      I suspect GOD, forced down your throat in the military and 30 years of service have left you a little bit behind where the rest of our society is today...

      November 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Albert Camus

        The military precludes from military service those who may require on-going medical treatment who are otherwise able-bodied, such as those with eczema, to avoid additional expense. Such medical screening is for purely economic reasons. As good stewards of taxpayer dollars, the military is expected to minimize personnel costs. If taxpayers are willing to pay for "more expensive" miliitary personnel, whether that be people requiring eczema or hormone treatement, let your Congressional representatives know that you're willing to pay the subsequent tax increase in military spending.

        November 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MilitaryFact

      What the author did not mention with transgender persons is that right now,the military considers it a medically disqualifying condition, like asthma, for entry or continued service.

      November 12, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • RD

      Personally, I have no issue with it as long as the person has completely completed the process. As long as they can medically make it through MEPS.

      Secondly, coming from the Coast Guard, I am glad to be in a service where it doesn't matter what gender you are when it comes to a job. If a female can keep up with the special training needed in the Special Forces then let them go. There is a wonder quote in the movie you talk about, saying that a females life should be worth no more than a man's. I don't view my life any more or any less valuable than a man's.

      There is a reason why there is special training in the Special Forces. If a female can't hack it, then she doesn't make it in. But it shouldn't be based solely on the fact that it is a woman trying.

      November 12, 2011 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      As a gay man, I think you raise a lot of interesting questions that I honestly don't have complete answers. I feel like conservatively, trans people wouldn't have any problems in non-combat roles or flying aircraft (does it take brute strength to fly a fighter or stealth jet? No sarcasm intended, I honestly don't know). On the other hand, I've met a lot of male to female transpeople that were still right s**t-kickers, so I feel like it could still be case-by-case.

      As far as how to treat trans servicemembers while they are transitioning, I'm not sure. Does the military have a policy towards bariatric surgery? In a weird way, I feel like they might be somewhat comparable.

      November 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • GauisCaesar

      My father served in Desert Shield, from 82nd AD...He would agree with your comment. There are areas that people will always consider to be unfair in thought. In application, I can understand the hardships and nonfocus that would be present if this were the case. Forget the fairness of this one, too much is on the line to not think practically.

      November 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Ugh

    I pushed ctrl-f + "bully" and, just as expected, it was used in the first two paragraphs. This is getting old, quick. Let's pick a new buzz word.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob

      Howabout antagonize? Or intimidate? Seems to me these simple, non-buzz words have a more authentic and even more chilling effect while remaining completely literal.

      November 13, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  24. HotStilletos

    Support our Veterans by going to The National Veterans Art Museum website to adopt a dog tag of one of our fallen service men and women. It supports art therapy for veterans from all campaigns. It is art by veterans from all campaigns. The museum is at 1801 South Indiana in Chicago.

    I am a Marine Corp veteran and I am proud to be standing next to everyone who served or is serving in the Armed Forces. No matter what your religious, political or orientation is, I still would gladly take a bullet for you.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMC Vet

      I think you should check the spelling of "Your Service". Thanks for the info on the art.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  25. AO1JMM

    "Your fight with Defense of Marriage is NOT with the military but with the federal gov't. So long as Defense of Marriage is on the books, the military will follow the federal rules laid out as such. So shut up the bashing of the military on this issue. Stop asking for special treatment or protection that allows you to spew your views but will not tolerate an opposite point of view. Freedom of speech, which I have served 25 years so far to protect, ally to all, even people I don't agree with."

    ^^^That right there.

    November 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Who's asking for special treatment? All I see is a request for the same treatment.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tim

        I believe the author is asking for special treatment: "A disturbing consequence is that even with repeal, gays and lesbians remain an unprotected class in the U.S. military."

        Isn't a protected class special treatment?

        November 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • SPC D

        I ment UCMJ not UMCJ, sorry about that.

        November 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

      You really need to get a CLUE...

      November 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Sy2502

    Gays are facing what people of color and women already know very well: that laws don't change how people feel. Hateful people may be forced to act according to law if they really have to, but inside them they will still see that person as less and unfit. And their behavior will reflect that belief, like it or not. So while flagrant discrimination will be prosecuted, subtle discrimination will go unchecked because by its very nature it's hard to pin it down as discrimination. All we can hope for is that haters who get to work side by side with the object of their hate will slowly change their minds. Or that they will all eventually die off as society evolves.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • smitvict

      Excellent post. Your statement is supported by the fact that older people have an issue with gays at much higher numbers than younger people. The same is true about civil rights. It takes time for the old guard to die out and be replaced by people raised without bigotry and racism as a norm.

      November 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dad

        Young people of today are brainwashed by all the TV shows produced in hollywood portraying gay as "born with" and sweet. Why do you think it's not on prime time or in the movies, most people know it's sick when they see it. Until people get off the politically correct brainwashing of TV, no one will do the work to show it's a treatable reproductive disorder.

        November 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • jena

        uh, "dad", it is not a reproductive disorder. We can and often do, reproduce just fine. In fact, I would like to see the current medical or psychological evidence that this is a disorder.

        It is a difference, that is all. And really not an important one in the ultimate scheme of things, except to those of you who would like to deny people's rights based on it.

        November 15, 2011 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
      • jusme101@mail.com

        Too many kids these days want to be special... Look at me, I'm gay and coming out.... BS. No soldier is going to follow a gay commander and put out 100%.

        November 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  27. VRage13

    Your fight with Defense of Marriage is NOT with the military but with the federal gov't. So long as Defense of Marriage is on the books, the military will follow the federal rules laid out as such. So shut up the bashing of the military on this issue. Stop asking for special treatment or protection that allows you to spew your views but will not tolerate an opposite point of view. Freedom of speech, which I have served 25 years so far to protect, ally to all, even people I don't agree with.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • QS

      "Freedom of speech, which I have served 25 years so far to protect, ally to all, even people I don't agree with."

      "So shut up the bashing of the military on this issue."

      LOL! Forgetting the grammar, is anybody else seeing the contradiction here?

      November 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • DocMWood

        QS–Nope, no problem there at all. Just because someone thinks that you have a right to do something doesn't negate their right to think you shouldn't be doing it. People have a right to sign a contract for a subprime mortgage with an undefined variable intrest rate and unrealistic payment schedule and I'll support the right for people to still have that right to keep govenment out of their business, but it doesn't mean that I shouldn't tell anyone and everyone that they're an idiot for doing it.

        November 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  28. usaretired

    Your response NoOn8 is typical for those who disagree or have a different point of view reference gays in the military. You talk about discrimination and bullying which is exactly what you are doing in your post. So it is okay for you to bully and insult and that will be the major stumbling block in the military reference the reversal of DADT. There is an old expression in the military of "one yellow raincoat, all yellow raincoats" meaning all are equal and the same. Do gays have the right to serve opening in the military, yes. Do they have the right to be treated better and sprew hatred for others who do not agree with them, no. I've served in the military for 23 years and can tell you I have experienced more that my fair share of harassment and worse from both men and women. I fully understand bullying, discrimination and worse for I served at a time when women were not treated well in the Army – started out as a WAC. It was a time when women were viewed as gay, spinsters or worse. I didn't let anger or hate take over but worked hard and proved that I was as good as any other soldier and earned respect – that's how you do it.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • QS

      "There is an old expression in the military of "one yellow raincoat, all yellow raincoats" meaning all are equal and the same."

      It must be really old, otherwise there would never have been a falsely perceived "need" for DADT to begin with. If all were supposedly seen as equal why force gay people to hide who they are or face penalties?

      November 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • will

      serving is not a right, its service.

      November 12, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      I thank you for your service...

      November 14, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  29. melissa

    The Armed Forces do not supercede the Laws of the Land the fact that the Clinton Administration enacted 'DADT' was a mis-step. The further repeal by another subsequent democratic administration only shines light on the party's desire to appeal to a group with campaign dollars. Finally the author's fantasies of suicidal thoughts would have emeged regardless of his career choice. To blame it on the Army is unfounded.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Actualy yes it does supercede the laws of the land. thats why they have there own laws UMCJ there are things that arent illegal in society that you can go to jail for in the military. so yes the armed forces do supercede the laws of the land

      November 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

        Spot on!

        November 11, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chuck

        The UCMJ does NOT supercede Federal or State laws. To supercede it would mean that if the fed law says it's illegal to smoke cigarettes and the UCMJ says you can that you won't go to jail. That's not what happens. UCMJ augments and extends federal and state laws and applies restrictions that aren't covered by either.. Meaning, it's not illegal in most jurisdictions to commit adultry.. It'll help you lose a divorce, but you won't go to jail for it if you are a civillian. In the military it's against the UCMJ to commit adultry and you will be punished for it.

        November 14, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
      • Don

        Actually you are partly right, if a military law is more restrictive than a State/Federal law then yes the restrictive one takes hold for military members. However, military people also have to follow whatever State/other country law in place (military members are always under dual juristiction – UCMJ and the State/Federal law that is in place - both apply).

        November 15, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Cory (Humanzrstupd)

      The military is a whole different world. And oh yeah: military law DOES trump civilian law (including "Federal").

      November 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |