OK, I know this thread isnít specifically about the ďDonít ask, Donít tellĒ policy in the US Military, but my friend Baldur made so many great points in his post that it really got me thinking. So, I hope nobody minds if I second everything he said, and add a couple of my own thoughts from my perspective as a Canadian.
In Canada, the right to openly disclose your sexual orientation in the Military has not been an issue since 1992 with the repeal of Canadian Forces Administrative Order (CFAO) 19-20, Sexual Deviation - Investigation, Medical Investigation and Disposal. There was also a huge study done proving the performance of our military didn't decline AT ALL from this repeal, and funnily enough, it was conducted by US researchers. Anyway, on the surface, and in the clinical black and white history listed on sites like Wikipedia, it seems like any other obsolete law swept aside in favour of appeasing a more tolerant and moderate public sentiment. However, precious few details about the injustices and human suffering resulting from the enforcement of such prejudiced and hateful legislation, accompany these facts, and I think that is a tremendous shame.
Though Canada is quite tolerant and accepting now with many laws that protect the rights of all homosexuals, we have a disgraceful history with how we treated our homosexual soldiers in the Armed Forces, with what most have labelled a Witch Hunt perpetrated by a little known Canadian Forces Special Investigations Unit. I was shocked to learn of this, and there is a ten-minute news clip that details exactly what went on, and interviews soldiers who were the victim of the policy and subsequent interrogation. It is something I suspect few of my fellow Canadians have ever heard about. http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/1221258968/ID=1644428083
Furthermore, for anyone inclined to delve deeper into understanding the damage done by Canadaís version of ďDonít ask, Donít tellĒ, there is a poignant one hour documentary available online at the National Film Board of Canada called ďOpen SecretsĒ. It details the treatment of our soldiers and veterans during WWII and after, and is something everyone who is against the repeal of these laws should watch.
Prejudices and fear run deep. I know this, and I know change cannot happen overnight, but I also believe that people who are against equal rights for gays and lesbians do not actually stop and take the time to educate themselves, and they typically refuse to question where their beliefs are coming from. Nor do they ever really
look at the human faces that suffer from the injustices of these hateful laws, but perhaps if they did, and perhaps if, as Baldur said, more people took the time to speak out and challenge the intolerance, then we could affect the kind of changes we need that much quicker.
Anyway, that is more than enough of my .02! Itís just something I do feel very strongly about and felt compelled to share. The good news is I truly do believe we are moving forward in positive ways every day, and I am proud to live in a country where gay men and women can marry, raise families and enjoy all the same rights and privileges as straight couples. Because of this, my brother and his partner are happily married, and I now have the best brother-in-law a big sister could ever ask for! Now Iím just hoping for a new little nephew or niece!
Oh and I wholeheartedly second what Nicholas said...Hell yes that's a couple!!