06
Oct
10

I Don’t Care About Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

I want to write a bit about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the recent failure of the US congress to repeal the act which prevents gay, lesbian or bisexual people from serving openly in the US military.

But first, I want you to listen to Bill Hicks.

I could write a lot about why I love Bill Hicks but honestly I don’t think you care. I agree with Bill’s view on the military; my own differs only in that I am less strident about it as I don’t want to offend people who have friends or relatives serving in the military in an active war zone.

When I think about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell I am conflicted. I am a supporter of LGBT rights, but I am opposed to the military. When I think about something which discourages people from joining the military there is a small part of me which thinks “this discrimination serves a positive purpose in preventing people signing away their lives.”

Is that wrong of me? Is it a genuine moral question or am I being short-sighted?

The treatment of LGBT people in America is a big news story right now, thanks to a tragic run of suicides by people bullied over their sexuality. These lives which have been cut so short should be exclamation marks on the end of the sentence “LGBT rights now”; it is easy for me to feel conflicted over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because I’m not American so I have the advantage of feeling quite dispassionate and allowing my views on war to cloud the otherwise perfectly clear and consistent committment I have towards equal rights.

I don’t want gay people in the military because I don’t want anyone in the military, but I suppose I am twisting the reality to make my view one which I am more comfortable with. The issue really is whether gay people should have the right to make a terrible, awful, ugly decision in the same way that straight people can. And when I frame it like that, I find it a much easier proposition to support wholeheartedly.

Gay people ought to be able to serve openly in the military. But they shouldn’t serve in the military at all, and neither should anyone else.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell just depresses me; either solution is one I find profoundly uncomfortable and sad. I think the question of whether it should be repealed is actually not the question we ought to be asking about military service.

And until we start asking the right ones, I just don’t care.

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