Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Man Up

I have been watching the process of and arguments for and against the repeal of the U.S. Military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. I have been especially intrigued by the Marine's General Amos' concern that openly gay people in the marines will serve to distract and potentially harm their units within the Marines. The few and the proud are not disciplined enough to complete the jobs they are trained to do only IF the man next to them is gay? I find this more than mildly concerning. What are we paying you to do, Marine?

But, I, as a woman... a straight woman, bring a lot of baggage to this argument. Nope, I've never served in the military, nor have I ever had a desire to. My baggage comes in the form of years of hearing horrible pick up lines, having men refuse to take no for an answer until being threatened. Men, in the form of my father, telling me that I have to dress a certain way so that I don't strain a boy beyond his capacity to reason. And no! I do not agree with girls or boys dressing less than their intelligence and own self respect demand. But I wondered even then, when was it the boy's responsibility to behave himself. And gee, I didn't even have it bad. Many cultures and religions demand their women to be covered from head to toe while the men wear fashionable clothes agreeable with the weather. We didn't have to wear caps and plain cotton dresses while our menfolk wore shorts in the heat of summer and jeans in the fall and winter. Why does our culture and other cultures call for this? I guess it's because boys will be boys, and since they can't control their crotches, women are to control it for them... while remaining pleasing to them.

A recent news story in our area was about an 18 year old star high school baseball player having sex with a 12 year old girl... let's call it what it was... rape. The public outcry against prosecuting this poor young man was heard far and wide. Boys WILL be boys, and she probably provoked him with her dress and easy ways. Besides, the state finals were coming up.

With this culture, it is no wonder, our men in uniform are so terrified of having gays serve openly in the military. Men can't help themselves! They'll be dropping your soap in the shower, and sneaking peeks at your naughty bits! Besides, doesn't gay mean "kind of girly"? This is in quotes because it was spoken by a young Marine. They will probably now request drag shows and "flaunt" their sexuality just all over the place. Sexuality has never been flaunted in the military before, has it? Pin up girls? Paintings of scantily clad women on fighter planes? USO show girls? The untoward and sometimes illegal sexual exploits of those in the military have never caused a problem before... Tailhook?

Think about this...
Gay men and women have not only been serving in militaries since the inception of war, YOU have also shared a shower with them, played on the playing fields with them, gone to church with them, revered their athletic prowess in professional sports, and they are also in your family. And for the most part, you never knew it. I guess gay "girly" men have managed something the stereotypical straight counter part has struggle conceptualizing: self control. Since we became bipedal and started using greater sophistication (for the most part) than clubs over heads to prove a point, gay people have learned to control their urges, focus on the task at hand, and get the job done.

Perhaps the military and General Amos in particular should find a now openly serving gay man to assist him with instructing the men whose bar was set so low, they believe themselves that they "can't help it" on how to not let anything distract him from getting the job done.

In other words, General Amos, you need a gay man to teach you how to man up.

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