Monday, November 8, 2010

Year of the Military Family

I've noticed that most of my blog (and most of my IRL conversations) are about either my daughter or my breasts. These seem to be the two most pressing issues in my life right now. Ironically, in my daughters life the two most pressing issues are also her and my breasts.

It feels an awful lot like I haven't had a thought outside of my own home in a long time. The other day I told my husband I was going to cancel the subscription to the Sunday NYT because honestly I didn't need to bother with all that national news. Who cares.

Except I do care. One thing I really care about is the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" issue. Just this past week Marine commandant General James Amos said it was the wrong time to repeal this policy. His reason: unit cohesion and combat effectiveness would be diminished because "There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women — and when you talk of infantry, we’re talking our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear, and loss of brothers."

Somewhere in that quote there seems to be the idea that a gay marine lying next to his battle buddy would somehow put the moves on. That in the midst of the stress, fear, and exhaustion of battle sex would be the only thing going on in a homosexual marines mind. Or a heterosexual marines mind. Seriously?

The fact is there are already gay soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. They don't have sex in the field, or on the ship, or at work. They do the same thing heterosexual military members do. The only thing they don't do that heterosexual military members do is go home at the end of a long day and enjoy the company of their loved ones.

Because they can't have loved ones.

When it comes to morale, unit cohesion, and combat effectiveness family plays a big part. Knowing that there is someone out there who loves you, and who you love, plays a big part in being able to face the worst of the world. And that is what a lot of our military personnel have to do. Coming home to a wife or husband is a good thing. Having your significant other supporting you is a good thing. Being able to have a family while still serving your country is a good thing. Even the military admits this. 2010 is the year of the military family after all.

Unless you're gay. Don't Ask, Don't Tell means gay service members can't have a significant other. They can't fall in love with someone. They can't date. They can't raise a family with a partner. They don't have that one person to love and support them through thick and thin. When they move to a far away land they can't take their families with them. They don't get families. They have to do the same job, with the same stress, alone. Their support structure outside of the military is severely crippled. And since they have to worry about someone "finding them out" their support structure inside the military is limited too.

Honestly, it isn't about sex. It's about families. If this is really the year of the military family then Don't Ask, Don't Tell needs to go.

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