Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Don’t Ask: It’s Nobody’s Business

How ridiculous is this “Don’t ask, don’t tell” business? Where are we, on the dark side of the moon?

Do I have a problem with whoever is willing to fight for our country, putting self in harm’s way and risking death, though they may never even know you or me? No, I don’t. So whose freaking country is this, if not mine and yours? We are forced to be part of denying gays’ role in the military because someone else has a problem with it.

So let’s talk about the real problem. There are lots of people we may not care for. Ya can’t love everybody. Whatever we may not like about them, we can let them be, and we do. But not when it comes to gays; there’s something about being around them that bothers us–and have you noticed this is especially true with so-called he-men?

We used to have more of a problem with black folks. Having them in the military just wouldn’t do, till we coughed up our hairball and let them help us beat Hitler & Co. When they got back home, of course, they couldn’t use our water fountains or live in the neighborhood. Hey, guys, welcome to the land of the free and the home of de facto segregation.

Then there was the civil rights movement and after we threw rocks, bricks and bottles at King, Jr., somebody plugged him while others said he “asked for it.” So for good measure someone plugged Medgar Evers too, and all that after other deadly stuff was done to Viola Liuzzo and Rev. Jim Reeb in Alabama and three young men killed and buried in Mississippi, just for starters. There’s more to tell but I don’t want to put a bad taste in anyone’s morning coffee. Okay, so truth be told, we are gradually (read: a snail’s pace) and agonizingly getting somewhat beyond that.

Which means we need someone else to pick on and, hey, there are gays walking around. Gee, life is good: can’t kick around blacks anymore, at least without potential repercussions, and surely someone else deserves a beating. And gays are there, aren’t they?

Yes, I remember that certain gays used to walk streets, hoping to meet up with other gays. And so did certain gals, prowling for guys, but no one smacked them around–it was ok that they were “asking for it,” too, and some guys helped themselves to the favor. Don’t you just love this upside-down, bizarro world?

Sorry I chased that rabbit, but there’s a point here. We force gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons to colonize in separate places for their socialization and amusement. Just by god stay outta our bars and restaurants. We can be openly expressive to our spouses and dates but they can’t: something might fall out of the sky and it’ll be all their fault.

In ancient times there had to be a taboo against killing one’s own young because there was an irresistible (or they thought there was) urge to whack anything that could later challenge the adult males and compete for the food supply, regardless how helpless and vulnerable it was. The taboo, in time, shut down that behavior.

I’d like a taboo on the behavior of those he-men legends-in-their-own-minds who deem gays in the same army or fighting unit as “bad for morale.” We know that’s not what they mean: these hairy-chested protectors suddenly don’t mind women in the military (though they once did) and shag them at every opportunity–often against their wills, and violently so.

Military brass know what the problem is–that a lot of hetero men find it hard to keep their hands off anybody, women or men. Well, I’m straight, and not being attracted to other men, such temptation never comes close to overwhelming me in close quarters or at long range. And if it did, would it be their fault, or mine? Oh, I forgot: there’s no such thing any more as personal responsibility.

It’s not a matter of how strong our sex drives are, it’s that we need an education in respect for persons and what is and isn’t appropriate behavior around anyone, just as we need consciousness raising in anti-racism and antisemitism.

And think not that such animalistic warping is shallow. All are insidious diseases of the human soul and spirit, but since we know next to nothing about souls and spirits, we can get to work on our bodies, minds and social training.

My most memorable comeuppance was in a therapy group dealing with personal biases, and in role-play I was “interviewed” in view of a “job” by a gay man. Along with the usual vetting, he asked me if I were heterosexual, and if so, when did I first know I was, and would I promise to keep my hands off women in the company–all of which I considered impertinent and finally shot back that it was none of his damn business. To which he replied softly, after a painful pause, “Now you know how we feel.”

When next someone complains about gays in society or in the military and wants to decide by fiat or public referendum whether they deserve to be there and need to explain themselves, tell them as gently and lovingly as you can that no one needs to ask, and no one needs to tell.

Because it’s nobody’s damn business.

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