Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Farewell, DADT, you sorry piece of shit

I've long hated the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. We should applaud, not discriminate against, people who want to serve our country in the military. That many of them should have to pretend to be something other than what they are is wrong. Period.

Yeah, I know many people hold an opposing view, but I'm not going to debate that here. You can find those debates elsewhere.

Instead, I'm going to talk about two men, one bisexual, and one heterosexual.

The first is Pruitt, one of Sarah's best friends and someone I've come to know a tiny bit over the last couple of years. (You can read Pruitt's own take on this day and this law here.) Pruitt is going to be a Navy officer. He is putting in the time in ROTC, and after he graduates, he will serve. Until today, Pruitt had to hide from his fellow soldiers his relationship with his boyfriend. No matter how good a soldier he was, he could not be himself. That sucks.

The point is that this law, like all oppressive and discriminatory laws, is ultimately not about a group; it's about each of those individuals who make up the group. It's not hurting a faceless many; it's hurting individuals.

In case you don't want to read Pruitt's piece, let me quote (without his permission, but I think he'd be okay with it, and if not, he can let me know) the answer he wishes he had been able to give to the Navy interviewer who asked him why he wanted to be in the Navy.

I want to be more than this. I shape my own identity, and I refuse to be locked up in the Art Haus closets of so many from the LGBT community. I am so sick of all the spangles and glitter that blots out my sight whenever I see queer men in media, and I'm sick of the fact that's all the rest of America can see too. In five years, I want people to go to my commissioning and say 'That's what a queer American male looks like, and damn does it look fine.' I want to be one of the first openly bisexual men to be made an officer in the United States Navy.
The only part of that wish that I hope he does not get is that I don't want him to be one of the first such Navy officers; I want so many to have come before him (a mere two years from now) that his sexual orientation is no longer news.

The second man is me. I'm heterosexual. Men don't attract me; women do. I am, though, openly supportive of relationships of all sorts, between any two or more people who want to be in them. If I could, I'd make marriage legal for any group--I support poly relationships--that wanted to marry. I weave poly relationships very quietly into the background of my novels, as I did in One Jump Ahead when I mentioned that a girl's parents were two men and a women.

I mention all this because a friend recently asked me if I was worried that doing this might cause people one day to boycott my books. I hadn't considered the question, but after doing so, I answered that I couldn't imagine being a big enough seller that anyone would bother, but that if they did, I would welcome the attention to the cause.

Pruitt and many other people today get to start being more open about who they are. I am so glad they do. Though I expect it to be a long time coming, I look forward to the day when no one cares about the types of consenting relationships that other adults have.

The repeal of DADT is a long overdue step in that direction.

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