Out Soldiers Serve Proudly in Britain

What was it that they were telling us about how dangerous it would be to let gay men and women serve in the military and not conceal their sexual orientation? That it would disrupt the order and discipline in the ranks and make people uncomfortable about possibly taking a shower with some guy who might be checking them out? Well, it turns out that it’s no big deal in Britain, where they’ve allowed out soldiers to serve for the last seven years. From the New York Times:

The officer, a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, felt he had no choice. So he stood up in front of his squad of 30 to 40 people.

“I said, ‘Right, I’ve got something to tell you,’ ” he said. “ ‘I believe that for us to be able to work closely together and have faith in each other, we have to be honest and open and frank. And it has to be a two-way process, and it starts with me baring my soul. You may have heard some rumors, and yes, I have a long-term partner who is a he, not a she.’ ”

Far from causing problems, he said, he found that coming out to his troops actually increased the unit’s strength and cohesion. He had felt uneasy keeping the secret “that their boss was a poof,” as he put it, from people he worked with so closely.

Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears — about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness — have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue.

The Ministry of Defense does not compile figures on how many gay men and lesbians are openly serving, and it says that the number of people who have come out publicly in the past seven years is still relatively low. But it is clearly proud of how smoothly homosexuals have been integrated and is trying to make life easier for them.

“What we’re hoping to do is to, over a period of time, reinforce the message that people who are gay, lesbian and the like are welcomed in the armed forces and we don’t discriminate against them in any way,” a Defense Ministry official said in an interview, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with the ministry’s practice.

It just goes to show you that the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” here in the United States doesn’t work and that in enlightened countries the idea of gay soldiers doesn’t call for pearl-clutching, smelling salts, and the fainting couch. It’s also been my opinion that the guys who worry the most about getting hit on in the shower or barracks by another guy are toads and not in their wildest dreams would any self-respecting queer hit on them. Yuck. Unless, of course, the worriers have their own issues. Again, yuck.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Advertisements

16 Comments

Filed under 06_bobby

16 responses to “Out Soldiers Serve Proudly in Britain

  1. “The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue.”
    Oh, to hear those words on this shore….

  2. “The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue.”
    Oh, to hear those words on this shore….

  3. Eric Blair

    This all could have been dealt with in the Clinton Administration if Clinton had been man enough to tell the Joint Chiefs who they actually work for. Clinton had 8 years to change the policy and didn’t. What was his excuse again?

    No, I don’t expect the current Administration to change the policy.

  4. oddjob

    What was his excuse again?

    Congress passing a law forcing the matter, a law that is still in effect? Before that law was passed this issue was always a matter of internal policy, but since DADT, it isn’t.

    It’s a federal law.

  5. Mr. Bill

    I know at least 4 exmilitary gay guys (3 Marines: what is it about Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children? Old Navy joke “Why does the Navy keep Marines on ship? Sheep would be obvious.”).All of them server honorably (3 in the Gulf War 1) and all seem ok, except one guy who had Gulf War syndrome in spades.
    The stereotype of the limp wristed is driving this insane policy.

  6. larkohio

    Stupid rule! Why can’t a gay person serve in the military? If they wish to serve and they are qualified, they should. We have some big problems right now, but gays serving in the military is not one of them. To all of them presently serving, and they are, I say, God bless them, and God bless the straight troops, too.

  7. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Has anyone else thought of that Monty Python skit with the lads mincing about dressed as British soldiers? “Don’t look now girls, here comes the major with the dolly color sergeant!” It was extremely silly! And a bit suspect, I should think!

  8. Lyonside

    Every time DADT comes up, I think of Jon Stewart back in the “Stand-Up Spotlight” days. He said something like, (paraphrased): “What are they afraid of? I think the Army is afraid of 10,000 gay guys with M-16s going, ‘Who’d you call a f****t?'”

  9. oddjob

    Has anyone else thought of that Monty Python skit with the lads mincing about dressed as British soldiers?

    Camp it – UP!

  10. Our verdict: silly!

  11. Erin M

    “Why does the Navy keep Marines on ship? Sheep would be obvious.”

    @ IBW

    I believe it was a demonstration of “close order swanning about.”

  12. Eddie on the Army.

    “They’re missing a huge opportunity here, because we all know one of the main elements of attack is the element of surprise. So what could be more surprising than the First Battalion Transvestite Brigade? Airborne wing–the airborne wing parachuting into dangerous areas…with fantastic makeup! And a fantastic gun. And the opposing forces going, ‘Fucking hell, look at these guys. … Oh, they’ve got guns! They’ve got guns! Jesus, wha – they’ve got guns! Ahhh, bugger. I was so surprised. Were you surprised? I was surprised.'”

  13. If you want an idea of how many enlisted military personnel are gay or lesbian, spend a bit of time in San Diego’s gay bars.

    Of course, they’re closeted and many of them are also Republican.

  14. If you want an idea of how many enlisted military personnel are gay or lesbian, spend a bit of time in San Diego’s gay bars.

    Odd you should menion that one brynn as I had forgotten all about it as it was back in the 50’s but the only time in all my misspent life I was ever hit on in a bar by a dude? was just such a place in San Diego. And I’ve been in more bars around the world than most of you have had hot dinners. And it was a sailor also. I was new in town and went into a “Wrong” place.

  15. If you want an idea of how many enlisted military personnel are gay or lesbian, spend a bit of time in San Diego’s gay bars.

    I’m buying my ticket to San Diego right now. I’d love me some sailors!

  16. redlegphi

    My favorite bit of the article:
    …the British official said. “There are some sensitivities over the timing of this. We have had communications from our counterparts in the United States, and they have asked us questions about how we’ve handled it and how it’s gone on the ground. There does seem to be some debate going on over how long the current policy will be sustainable.”

    If you had asked me before reading this, I’d have said that, while the repeal of DADT was inevitable, I didn’t expect it to happen for at least another 5-10 years. Reading that quote, however, I’d say that soon the only thing standing in the way will be the President himself. Meaning we could be seeing the end of DADT by 2009. Still a ways off, but exciting, nonetheless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s