As I’m sure you have heard on the news today, at 12:01 a.m. this morning the military officially ended their policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. I believe this policy was enforced for 18 years. As mentioned on other blogs in the blogosphere, one must note that since the repeal of this policy there has been no hints of an armageddon-like event, nor has there been an angry tornado, hurricane, earthquake or monsoon indicating that God is not pleased with this. We can assume that the lack of a response from the sky means that he is happy.
Well he should be.
Back in my senior year of high school I very briefly considered joining the military but then decided that I would get the shit beat out of me if I ever did make it even as far as basic training. I never shared this revelation with anyone, well, I told one person and they looked at me unbelievably. I did good on the tests that they give you to see where you would be an asset for Uncle Sam; unsurprisingly I did well in technology. I’m a geek like that. Part of my consideration for joining the military addressed the inevitably being asked about being gay. I believe before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” they used to ask you outright if you have ever had sexual relations with a person of the same sex. At that point in my life I could have technically answered in the negative on that, but in reality I knew that I really wanted to. Though, admittedly I did not want to pursue this while in the military, simply because I couldn’t figure out how the mechanics of same sex sexual relations would work in a room filled with a large number of guys would work without getting caught and then I would end up discharged anyways, probably being beat up on my way out. Ultimately I would have been lying when they asked me and I figured if you were to become a soldier, you were meant to be honorable, and starting that path in your life shouldn’t start with a lie. Lie is dishonorable. So I dropped it.
This line of thinking continued into my career choice. I went to college the first time to become a music teacher. However, I had no interest in teaching in a big school. I didn’t want to live in a city, I wanted to teach in a smaller school district that was much like the one I graduated from. My first versions of gaydar picked up on teachers that were gay and they either lived far away (and drove through lots of snow storms to get to work) or they lived their life in the closet. Well this didn’t seem right to me. It was midway through my first year of college that I figured all this out and that I couldn’t be an openly gay man and teach at a smaller school district at the same time. The public wasn’t ready for that yet and I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the challenge that that would bring. So I decided to give that up. My interest in the whole thing had wained a bit anyway. Though television proclaims to the contrary and some sheltered folks believe that you can be gay anywhere without ramification, I guess I’m still old school enough to live on the side of caution a bit. I’m not sure that I could even get away with being an openly gay music teacher today in a small school district. I’ve heard stories of gay teachers and administrators being dismissed on somewhat trumped up terms as recently as two years ago. “We don’t want that kind in our schools around our children.” It’s sad when a year ago that person was voted teacher of the year.
So while I am very happy that there can now be openly gay soldiers in our military today, I’m hoping that while they celebrate (which they have every right to do), that they’re concentrating more on why they joined the military instead of just being gay. I can’t wait until being gay is no big deal for a vast majority instead of a slim majority of people. Hopefully society will calm down a bit.
And I’m am 1 1/2 years too old to even consider joining the military today. But at least now I could be honest about it.
– I am crossing my fingers and praying to the digital mecca that this has been a successful instance of using BlogPress from my iPad