the 1 worry about ending dont ask dont tell ill have to shower with them

The #1 Worry About Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: “I’ll have to shower with them!?”

January 29th, 2010 By: Michael Merritt
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Discussion about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has once again come about after President Obama’s vow to end it during the State of the Union tonight, and the report by ABC that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of State Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen will testify about what steps they will take before Congress and Obama move to end the law. (H/T Hot Air).

Combing through the Hot Air comments, I’ve noticed one recurring theme amongst those against repealing the policy: That they will be forced to shower with the now openly gay servicemen (it is unclear whether or not this is also a fear among  socially conservative women as well).  Apparently these commenters are unaware of the fact that straight and gay servicemen are already showering together.

Whatever the case may be, the fear seems to be that, no longer closeted by DADT, gays will now be open to jump their fellow servicemen.  When countered with the fact that gays have the ability to restrain their sexual urges in the presence of other men, they say, “Haha, I can certainly restrain my sexuality, too, so maybe showers should be co-ed!”

Besides this only being an attempt to change the subject, this shows is that the problem is not so much with the gay servicemen and women as it is with some people’s discomfort with the idea of gay people being around them.  Rather than admit their problem, they try to invent worst-case scenarios that won’t actually happen to help them justify their support for DADT.  Meanwhile, more and more Arabic translators are getting kicked out of the military at a time we need them, just because of who they are.

These social conservatives just need to live up to the fact that a non-DADT military doesn’t mean gay people are going to sexually assault their fellow servicemembers.  And if a gay person suggests they have feelings for one of their fellows, so what?  The latter can just tell the former what straights have been telling each other for centuries: “You’re not my type.”

Update: Commenter Interested asked why President Obama can’t just rescind the Executive Order issued by former President Clinton early in his presidency.  Because the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy isn’t just an Executive Order.  It actually is law; specifically Title IV, Sec. 524; Subtitle G of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994.  So Congress must get involved in order for this policy to be repealed.

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  1. Interested

    January 29th, 2010 at 07:03

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    Yeah i’ve heard the excuses over the years too. Had a discussion years ago with a buddy – in the gym’s locker room – with you guessed it. Open showers.

    Even the very basic argument we hear over and over that a serviceman can’t trust his buddy if his buddy likes other dudes – is out of this world. There’s an entire slew of things that we all individually do not like, or even more so – do not want to see. Yet we still trust our friends will be friends and our coworkers will still do their job.

    A 2006 Zogby International poll of military members found that 26% were in favor of gays and lesbians serving in the military, 37% opposed gays and lesbians serving, and 37% expressed no preference or were unsure. 66% of respondents who had experience with gays or lesbians in their unit said that the presence of gay or lesbian unit members had either no impact or a positive impact on their personal morale, while 64% said as much for overall unit morale

    I’d bet you a months pay – that one single fat guy who holds back an entire platoon of soldiers in basic training has a much much MUCH higher negative rating than the above study.

    IMO – it’s something still for voters to ask of OB – why haven’t you. Clinton made it a policy via Executive Order. The Dear Leader can do the same.

  2. poligazette

    January 29th, 2010 at 07:33

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    It’s not simply an Executive Order. It actually is legislation, which is why Congress has to get involved: (Sec. 524 Subtitle G)

  3. Interested

    January 29th, 2010 at 08:29

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    DADT is not legislation. It was a Clinton action disregarding the law (and courts) as Congress passed and he signed.

    In a 9-4 decision that denied the appeal of Navy Lt. Paul G. Thomasson, a professed homosexual who wanted to stay in the Navy, U.S. Circuit Judge Michael Luttig wrote about the exclusion law: “Like the pre-1993 [policy] it codifies, [the statute] unambiguously prohibits all known homosexuals from serving in the military . . . .” Judge Luttig added that the Clinton Administration “fully understands” that the law and DoD enforcement regulations are inconsistent and has engaged in “repeated mischaracterization of the statute itself . . . .” This ruling should have prompted the Defense Department to drop the problematic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy/regulations, but the Clinton administration failed to strengthen enforcement of Section 654, Title 10, by dropping the administrative policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    the 1993 law enforced the previous laws and kept Clinton’s interim law (executive order) that no longer asked the question on application forms.

  4. redfish

    January 30th, 2010 at 00:25

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    I think you’re missing the point. The charge against people who want to keep the policy as it is is that they’re just plain ignorant bigots; they’re homophobes. No matter what changes there should be in policy, the reason for a policy around gays at all *is* the same reason men and women aren’t integrated. It’s not homophobia, its about the military not wanting to deal with sexual tensions in the barracks, even if-even if-the discomfort is the fault of the heterosexual servicemen. I simply think the issue is indistinguishable from men and women serving together. Military leaders are right to treat that as different than bigotry. You laugh about the comparison, but really I wonder if you’d call a refusal of the military to integrate men and women as sexist, on the grounds that people would be implying that women just are too frail to handle men possibly looking at them. Not every woman in the military will be afraid that male officers will want to jump her!

    That said, its not good policy for the military to kick out someone just because they found out he’s gay-especially in the middle of a war. I don’t think military leaders necessarily want to do that, either. I think what they want is the option of some recourse if there’s a problem in a unit. I read some reports just after Obama’s State of the Union Address, where Adm. Mullen said that he was preparing a list of steps that would need to take place before the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ was removed. They’re willing to do it, they just want to see that its done in a certain way,.

    So, the discussion should move forward, and we do need a better policy, but the attack against anyone who disagrees as being a homophobic, ignorant bigot has to stop.

  5. Michael_Merritt

    January 30th, 2010 at 06:17

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    That was illuminating, and I can see that the rationale comes from subsection c of 654. Interestingly, other subsections suggest that even a homosexual member can be retained if there’s a compelling reason to do so. Shame this was never tried out in the case of Arabic translators.

    Still, it will all have to be written out before DADT is finished for good.

  6. Michael_Merritt

    January 30th, 2010 at 06:27

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    No matter what changes there should be in policy, the reason for a policy around gays at all *is* the same reason men and women aren’t integrated. It’s not homophobia, its about the military not wanting to deal with sexual tensions in the barracks, even if-even if-the discomfort is the fault of the heterosexual servicemen.

    Heterosexual and homosexual persons already are integrated. Straights just don’t know who the gays are.

    I think what they want is the option of some recourse if there’s a problem in a unit.

    I’ll have to find it again, but a commenter on Hot Air yesterday was noting how an officer he knew had to do a lot of work dealing with epsiodes of sex occurring between men and women. So, it seems like tension is already occurring, even though they’re separated.

    The closeted gay is already expected to act professionally. This will not change in a post-DADT military. If something happens here, the punishments will be the same.

    So, no disagreements from me on that.

  7. redfish

    January 30th, 2010 at 17:03

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    And if the men start to feel uncomfortable in the shower, should the military leaders treat it any differently as if women were uncomfortable in the shower due to the presence of a man? That is, should the men who are uncomfortable be disciplined and be told to be stoic, and, similarly, should the women who are uncomfortable be disciplined and told to be stoic? Or, if a man was in a shower with women and it was causing problems, would it make more sense if the military made some arrangements around the man?

    All I'm saying is that this isn't an issue of bigotry, so people shouldn't describe it that way and treat everyone who disagrees as ignorant. Its a difficult issue to work out in a unit. The recourse they want isn't necessarily 'punishment'. The recourse may mean simply 'working something out'.

  8. Interested

    February 2nd, 2010 at 08:04

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    I don’t see it as being an issue of something to be worked out. Women vs Men lie much much deeper in the overall issue of men and women allowing to serve in the forces to begin with. I think you’d find the aspect of gays not being allowed to openly serve has much more to do with the generation of the current military leaders.

  9. Interested

    February 2nd, 2010 at 08:11

    not particularly. I don’t see it as an issue that should need to be worked with. It’s a 100% volunteer service – and that would be equally true if you wanted to join a military that does not openly accept gays or does.

    OB could call it like it is and gain nothing, or claim he’s working with congress for the political points within the gay community. Course they both had Dem majorities in Congress – go figure that one.

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