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  • One Year Later, Military Says Gay Policy Is Working
    [Image: MILITARY-1-articleLarge.jpg]

    NY Times Wrote:WASHINGTON — Every Tuesday and Friday morning in a dining area tucked behind Dunkin’ Donuts in the Pentagon’s main food court, a gay coffee group meets to talk, do a little business and tell a few jokes.

    Started quietly by a handful of Air Force officers in 2005, the gathering has grown to as many as 40 people since the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy last September. The crowd is a testament to the openness in the military now that gay, lesbian and bisexual service members no longer have to keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge — and also to how such gatherings are still needed.

    “Honestly, it’s a support group,” said Sean M. Hackbarth, the Air Force lieutenant colonel, now retired, who started the gatherings of uniformed military and civilian defense workers and who still drops by for coffee when he’s at the Pentagon. “It’s a way of making people less afraid. Even with repeal, there’s still that trepidation of being out in the military.”

      story continued
    It has been exactly a year since “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, and by most measures the change has been a success. Gay service members say they feel relief they no longer have to live secret lives. Pentagon officials say that recruiting, retention and overall morale have not been affected. None of the dire predictions of opponents, including warnings of a mass exodus of active duty troops, have occurred.

    “My view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in May, eight months after the repeal. Even the Marine Corps, the service most opposed to the change, has fallen in line. “I get in front of the Marines as often as I can, as long as I can get away from Washington, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even get a question,” the Marine commandant, James F. Amos, said at the National Press Club last month. “I’m very pleased with how this turned out.”

    But both gay and straight service members say that ending the legal barriers has hardly erased all the cultural ones, and that while the repeal has gone better than many expected, harassment and discrimination against gays in the military have not disappeared. “We were not fooling ourselves into believing there would be no incidents,” Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel, said in an interview.

    Mr. Johnson, who with Gen. Carter F. Ham wrote a 2010 Pentagon report that concluded that gay men and women could serve openly with little risk to military effectiveness, said that he had handled fewer than 10 cases where harassment or discrimination against gay service members was alleged in the last year.

    One of the incidents, cited in some news reports this spring, occurred in April at a ball at a New York military installation, where a female officer was dancing with her girlfriend, another officer, and a squadron commander told the two women to stop. The situation escalated to the point that the commander’s top enlisted adviser, a sergeant major, shoved one of the female officers across the floor.

    Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran and the executive director of the Service members Legal Defense Network, said in an interview that after the female officers contacted his organization, the Pentagon investigated and the squadron commander and the sergeant major were relieved of their jobs and forced to retire. “Unfortunately, I could see this as being a teaching moment for commanders on what not to do,” Mr. Sarvis said.

    In other cases service members have said they were denied promotions or assignments because of their sexual orientation, but Mr. Sarvis said his group had investigated and found no basis for the complaints.

    A far more serious incident occurred over Labor Day weekend outside a gay bar in Long Beach, Calif., where four Marines were arrested and accused of beating a young film student so severely that he ended up in the hospital. The Marines reportedly shouted antigay slurs before the attack. Commanders are investigating.

    Gay, lesbian and bisexual service members are thought to make up at least 2 percent of the military’s 2.2 million forces on active duty and in the reserves and National Guard. Military officials say they do not know how many gay men and lesbians have come out since the repeal, but a survey by OutServe, a two-year-old organization for gay service members, found that 32 percent had revealed their sexual orientation in the last year.

    Gay rights advocates say the number who came out may in fact be smaller than the survey in Outserve, which is made up of those gay service members most likely to be open about their orientation.

    “A large percentage choose to remain in the closet, and part of that is they are reading signals from their peers that it is still not O.K. to be out in the military,” said Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center, a branch of the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law that published a study this month effectively declaring repeal of the policy a nonevent. “You have a masculine organization which is largely conservative and it takes time to turn that ship around.”

    Gay service members say that for all the firsts in the past year — the first gay wedding at a military base, the first openly gay general — there remains a tolerance in many quarters for gay jokes and slurs. The repeal, they say, has at least made them more comfortable in addressing them before they escalate.

    Bert Gillott, a retired Air Force master sergeant who worked until recently in the protocol office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, said he had been taken aback last fall when he heard the senior enlisted adviser to General Dempsey, Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, openly use a derogatory term for homosexual men and joke that he didn’t want any “gay” music at a military ceremony.

    Asked by a reporter about the comments, Sergeant Major Battaglia’s office e-mailed a statement saying that he did not recall making the remarks, “fully supports the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell” and “has made it clear throughout our armed forces that any form of discrimination, hate crime, hazing, bullying, sexual assault, etc., will not be tolerated.”

    Mr. Gillott, who has been a member of the gay coffee group, said at a recent gathering that finding the group was “nirvana” to him. “For years we’ve been fringe,” he said. “Finally I’ve met other people in the military who are gay.”

    One longtime opponent of repeal, Elaine Donnelly, said in an interview on Wednesday that she remained unmoved by the relative calm of the past year and predicted future problems. “People in the military follow orders,” she said. “Silence should not be interpreted as a sign of approval or success.”
    ahhh, one year later and i am still against the appeal of 'dadt.' but, other than that, i still don't care.

    allowing same sex marriage and a person's right to choose (to me) is a fundamental right. that being said, who really cares if the sgt. major packs fudge? seriously? what's more important is why should anyone else have to care?

    i'm still very fond of days when your personal life was your personal life and your work life was just that: your work life.

    naturally, the military wants to be compliant with their orders to discontinue 'dadt' tradition, so i doubt they are going to be forthcoming with any reports that heterosexuals now feel uncomfortable around their homosexual counterparts and that the increased bureaucratic nonsense that they now have to put up with is hardly worth the effort.

    while i do feel it is wrong remove homosexuals from service based on their sexual appetites, i do feel that it is even more wrong to repeal a law that encouraged everyone to mind their own fucking business.

    the organizational glory of the military has been degraded over the years: politics, politicians, inefficient bureaucratic nonsense, corruption, sensitivity training, more political nonsense and now, finally: fabulosity.

    ucla was right to label the one year anniversary a nonevent.



    does anyone remember the historic 1995 sailing of the dwight d. eisenhower back in 1995 when they finally allowed women to serve aboard aircraft carriers?

      quick facts
    - A man and a woman were taken off the ship for having sex on board some time during the past few days, the Navy acknowledged. The encounter was discovered because the man videotaped it and showed it to others.

    - Fourteen women in the crew have become pregnant since the cruise began in October and were sent home, other sources said.

    - An Eisenhower crew member who was dismissed from the Navy on Wednesday said she was sentenced to three days on bread and water in a Navy brig because she fell in love with another crew member, in violation of the ship's no-dating policy. She also claims discrimination: The man, now her fiance, has not been punished.

    Navy officials denied she was disciplined for dating. They said her offense was repeatedly reporting late for work.

    There are indications from other crew that the ship's no-dating policy has gotten other couples in trouble, resulting in added duty, demotions and fines.

    Such administrative actions are usually taken by the ship's captain at a non-judicial hearing called a captain's mast. He can order added duty, confinement to the ship's brig, forfeiture of pay, demotion, or all four.

    "But the one thing here is that the Navy will not tolerate any sexual misconduct," said Cmdr. Kevin Wensing, a spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet Naval Air Force, headquartered in Norfolk.

    In the videotape, a man and woman-both married to other people-had consensual sex in an isolated space aboard the ship.

    In disclosing the number of pregnancies, a Navy official said 38 crew members on the carrier have reported they were pregnant since the crew first went aboard in Norfolk last April.

    Of those, 24 became pregnant before the ship left for its Mediterranean cruise and the remaining 14 reported their pregnancies after the cruise began in October. By comparison, 17 women were reassigned for other medical reasons and eight more for non-medical reasons, either disciplinary or administrative.
    now, i'm not saying that women shouldn't be allowed to serve aboard ships in the navy, but i am saying that problems like this are to be expected once you remove restrictions that existed for a reason.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    Something that's always confused me about the anti-gay feeling in regards to the military -- if you don't like homosexuals, why would you stop them from putting themselves in the line of fire? Just another curious example of hypocrisy when they're good enough to hunt down for hate crimes but not good enough to be shot by Muslims...

    Anyway... if you're living in close quarters with someone, you're going to have a fairly good idea about their sexuality. If it didn't bother anyone before, it won't bother anyone now, regardless of what the lawmakers think. Making laws based on who humps whom with what is a waste of judicial funds.

    No fucking censorship. Ever.
    i don't think the military hates homosexuals.

    from day one, you are trained to operate as one. one squad, one company, one battalion, one division, one army... even one ship (none of that applies to the air force since they are disorganized and it's pretty much every man or woman for themselves). you operate as one and it's unique since you can be a racist and serve with every race you despise, but you would still get their back since there is always a sense of comradely.

    the repeal of dadt just adds another barrier to the military complex.

    dadt was simple and it worked: we aren't going to ask you, and we expect you not to tell us... that way we can all get along fine. oddly enough, that same philosophy helps prevent thousands of divorces every year. go figure.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    Of course the military doesn't hate homosexuals... but it's not the military making the policy, really. What I mean is, Joe Bigot in his church every week can preach loudly about the evils of homosexuality and how they should be lined up against a wall and shot, but he'll still preachjust as loudly about how they shouldn't be allowed to die for their country. Maybe it's not hypocrisy, just a need to make a lot of noise about things that don't make a great deal of sense.

    I kind of agree with you in that you shouldn't have to disclose details that have absolutely no bearing on your ability to perform a duty. When I apply for a job I don't have to tell my employer about my weird stationery fetish.

    No fucking censorship. Ever.
    on topic: i think it goes a bit further. here a theory...

    all these special interest groups seem to just like the attention in an attempt to validate their feelings/lives/efforts... and oddly enough, the loudest always seem to make the least sense.

    off topic: i like the medium weight bamboo stock... works really well with my vintage fountain pen collection. fiber is sexy.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.
    on topic: empty vessels, misery loves company and all that. Can you believe there's an Australian politician who is not only opposed to gay marriage, he wants to outlaw homosexuality and anything that hints at it -- including sodomy, obviously, but also fellatio. Fellatio? Goddamn. No wonder he's never photographed with a smile on his face.

    Was that on topic? I forget how that works...

    off topic:
    oh god, I love fountain pens... I have a few, but they're expensive... my favourite is gold-nibbed Parker that I've had for about 25 years...

    No fucking censorship. Ever.
    naturally... the most fierce components of these arguments seem to be the most suspicious. i digress.

    i'm all for progress... but i don't think this is about progress anymore. it's all about people wanting to justify their likes and dislikes on a global scale.

    fuck special interest groups.

    "Yeah. I understand the mechanics of it, shithead. I just don't understand how this is any less retarded than what I'm suggesting." - Kiley; Housebound.

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