Gays in the Military

Few issues currently create as much debate as allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the United States military. Even with the Senate’s repeal of the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, many in congress, the military and the country remain on opposite sides of the argument.

When cartoonists weigh in on such a controversial subject, as Mike Keefe of the Denver Post did with the cartoon to the right (view more of Keefe’s cartoons here), you can expect some readers to respond in kind.

Allowing gays to serve openly in the military has become an important issue to Keefe. Here is what he has to say on the subject:

“The question of whether gays should be permitted to serve in the military is basically a question of civil rights. I know of no study that says sexual orientation affects job performance in any legitimate area of employment including military service. Twenty-two of the twenty-six countries that contribute military forces to NATO permit gays to serve. Denying gays the opportunity to serve their country is denying them a basic right of citizenship.”

Keefe has weighed in with multiple cartoons about gays in the military. Here are some of his best. What’s your opinion?

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

38 replies on “Gays in the Military”

Times they are a'changin', thank goodness. In 1968, in basic training, we had 3 homosexuals in my company, two blacks and one white. The white kid was ridden mercilessly by the southern whites in my company and was forced out. One of the two blacks was short, fat and comical. He played Sambo and was rewarded by leading the company as our guidiron (it was a riot watching him sashay down the street). He graduated and went on to missle man school. The second black was a college grad, quite intelligent. With a little help from me and our drill sergeant, he was successful in basic and went on to AIT, I forget the specialty. This was more than a generation before "don't ask, don't tell." All 3 were 'out of the closet way back when. All 3 wanted to serve their country (back then a homosexual only had to officially claim to be one to avoid military service). This country has come a long way since then. The current young folks entering the military generally do not have the fear of homosexuality of their predecessors. I find it interesting that so many politicians who have never heard a shot fired in anger seem to have the most problems dealing with folks who are a bit different.

Glen – You hit the nail on the head. It seems that those who have not participated in military service are the ones that are shouting very loudly. Those of our leaders, including the head man, who have not served in the military are shouting the loudest. All this will eventually come being a tempest in a teapot. The military has been able to handle the situation with due diligence and will continue to do so if the rest of the fruits cakes will just get out of the way.

As a citizen of a country that long ago got over this ridiculous bigotry, I sit and observe in awe a nation still allowing itself to be hung up by a minority of hateful bigots. I'm sure a large majority of Americans find this bigotry and hate to be simply disgusting. We need to hear them shouting that they won't allow this minority to remove basic rights from fellow citizens.

mole–shouting does not work well with ignorant, fearful people. In fact, often it just sets them in concrete. Then you have to wait for them to die. The 'water on rock' sometimes works, over the years you may just wear them down. Normally, however, you have address the next generation. Furthermore, homophobia is hardly 'ridiculous bigotry' in 'Christian' or 'Muslim' countries. Both religions clearly proscribe homosexuality. The problem becomes one of religious reform (or intellectual freedom from religion) as well.

This is not peculiar to the United States. Significant social change without widespread slaughter often takes a generation or more. Example: free public education was part of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. There are still countries around where it may not be readily available at all beyond 6 years. Even in the United States, it is normally only available for 12 years even though such limited education is inadequate today for most of its citizens.

maybe with this vote we will stop treating sen. mccain as the war hero he was once and start looking at him as a man pursueing his past by bigotry. mccain ws not around when president truman ordered the military to quit segregating troops. the military did not like it then, but they obeyed and we worked out the problems. they will do it again with no help from old warhorses like john

old geezer. A good friend of mine, no longer with us, married a very talented Japanese lady while he was a member of the occupation forces at the end of WWII. During the Korean War he became a 'mustang' (was jumped from 1st Sergeant to 1st Lieutenant). Before he was sent to Vietnam (as a Captain), he and his Japanese wife were sent to the State of Maryland in the 1950's as part of the Army's decision to challenge the anti-miscegenation (race mixing) laws then still in effect in that state. In its own way, our armed services have often help bring about change both in our society and in our laws. Dealing with homophobia is certainly consistent with precedent set by our military in the past.

Just curious…in an all-male barracks, how are gay liaisons consummated? Is everyone issued sleep masks and earplugs? Or are there barracks designated for gays only?
Just wonderin'……..Seems the military has more important matters with which to deal other than assisting in retooling American societal and sexual mores…….How far do we go in accommodating every societal and sexual proclivity out there??? What's next? Zoophilia???

Glen – your points are well taken. Wearing down the bigots is a much better approach them shouting at them. And I agree that working on the next generation is part of the solution. I still think that homophobia is "ridiculous bigotry" even though Christianity and Islam both proscribe it. unfortunately, religion does promote bigotry in many ways (proscribing homosexuality is bigotry).

Also, I totally agree that homophobia is not peculiar to the United States. Even though we are light years ahead here in Canada on this issue (gays can serve openly in the armed forces, and gay marriage is legal), I shouldn't be too smug about it. Our society has more than enough homophobic bigots who would happily reverse our gains. The point I was trying to make (and I did it poorly) is that America boasts about being the "Land of the Free", and in many ways it is, but there are still many who cannot enjoy the same rights and freedoms as their fellow citizens.

This will inevitably change, even if it takes another 50 years. When the issue of gay marriage was being debated in Canada I spoke personally to my Member of Parliament who actually voted against legalizing gay marriage. When I asked him why he was going to vote against it, he couldn't come up with any good reason other than his own bigotry. When I told him that it would pass and within a few years it wouldn't even be an issue any more, he acknowledged that I was right, but said he was still going to vote against it. Fortunately, the new law was passed anyway, and I helped defeat him in the following election!

Joey: Don't be ridiculous. You ask "in all male barracks how are gay liaisons consummated?" They aren't! Allowing gays to serve in the military does not mean that barracks are provided in order to "consummate" their liaisons.
You don't want the military to "retool American societal and sexual mores". Get real. Nothing is going to be "retooled", except maybe your attitude. Your question, "What's next, Zoophilia" is so absurd it's not worth addressing other than to say that I really had thought that dinosaurs who asked such absurdities had actually disappeared.

Joey Bite-me: Just curious…in an all-male barracks, how are straight liaisons consummated? Is everyone issued sleep masks and earplugs? Or are there barracks designated for mixed-couples only?

I don't personally know any intelligent, well-educated person who didn't conclude LONG AGO that all people should enjoy the same civil rights. The only people I have encountered who advocate some type of restriction based on sexual orientation are clearly ignorant of the genuine parameters of sexual orientation in general, and often only parrot what they have heard from the pulpit.

!. Why do I need to know their sexual preference, if I go in to work and talk about sex, I can be fired for sexual harassment .

2. If you think that all people in the military who dont like gays, will disappear overnight, your sadly mistaken. Remember Code Red from "A Few Good Men" or the blanket party given to private Pyle in "Full Metal Jacket"?

3. Why do we need to know?

If President Clinton's order of "Dont Ask, Dont Tell", allowed gays and lesbians to serve quietly, and we do away with that order, doesnt that mean we go back to them not being allowed to serve at all?

Ernie: Your 3rd question: "Why do we need to know?" – It's not so much that we need to know rather than they shouldn't need to hide what they are. They aren't going to go around screaming in our faces, "I'm gay!", but on the other hand they won't be required to hide what they are. As for your question about going back to them not being allowed to serve at all – that won't happen. There will simply come a time when NOBODY CARES about another soldier's sexual orientation any more than he or she cares about another's ethnicity or skin colour.

I served in the Army from 1966 – 1969. During this time I knew soldiers whom I suspected were gay. Never knew for sure. But I never had any problem serving with them nor do I remember anyone else expressing any problem. I don't believe it will be a problem now and I think there have always been gays in the military.

Having said this, Corporal Klinger notwithstanding, I don't see the military allowing drag queens on post or in the barracks. In fact, I believe these types are embarrasments to the average gay person. I can possibly see that public displays of affections could be offensive to many as well.

Finally, I think the male military has always been more tolerant of lesbian relationships. I served in the Reserves and remember one active duty advisor who you may as well say was openly gay. All the officers liked her because, I think, she knew how to get all the paper work done correctly, and was pretty much interested in all the things the men were.

Ernie, I agree! It seems to me that somewhere out there someone wants all gays to wear it on thier sleeve, I am GAY! "LIke it or not here we are!" Personnally I don't give a rats patooie about what you do at night, just don't do it in the same room as I am(I kicked a roomate and her boyfriend out one night due to loud gymnastics)
Talking about sexual prowess in the work place will get SAVI on you quick!
Fraternazation charges will change quickly, hanging out with the guys will no longer be a safe bet.
General Rule #1 will be impossible to enforce(thats the rule against sex in the dorms when deployed, it reads "no one of the opposite sex in rooms after 10pm" well as DADT is repealed the opposite sex part won't matter)

Its all good! As a heterosexual I want the same freedoms as the DADT group.
In my 20+ years I have served with a wide variety of people. I have never described any of my friends by sex, color, religon or political stand. Just rating or rank.
Nor have I ever defined my friendships by Sexual Orientation, having said that, let this drop, in order for mole to be correct "There will simply come a time when NOBODY CARES about another soldier’s sexual orientation any more than he or she cares about another’s ethnicity or skin colour." it simply has to drop from the public eye. For most of us that time is here, just quiet the Newsomes of the world and life will go on.
I remember a time when women were not accepted. And I quote "Men and Officers of the USS Hunley" there were approximately 150 women standing in ranks at that time….

It's a sad statement but a true one that many people seem to need a 'scape goat', 'whipping boy' , or other such group to persecute in order to be satisfied with their lot in life, throughout much of history. Be it african-americans in the south during the colonial period, hispanic americans in some states in the west, or as the current fight seems to be, gays, despite the acknowledgment of the general populous, rules or laws discriminating against a given minority seem to be considered rational or prudent to many citizens.

Gays sadly seem to have become one of the latest set of victims, both in military service and even in some areas of the country, where local laws allow prosecution despite the state or local populous caring not one whit, or in some cases(such as certain state reps), the leaders over-ruling much of the population in continuing blatent and wanton bigotry.

Allowing gays to serve in our military is a step as important as desegregation of the military in wars previous, but there are those who have not fought and confess to somehow believe their authority or knowledge is greater then those sacrificing every day. That these people continue to 'serve' our country in elected positions speaks badly of their electorates, and their questioning whether or not someone is 'american enough' based upon religious, lifestyle, sexual, or even personal habit views which they disagree with.

I was actually going to join the military, specifically, the navy EOD program, until I had the fortune to fall in love with my husband/lifemate/partner of 11 years. Now, if I wish, I finally have the freedom to serve my country, and that is an accomplishment I hope the bearers of history will remember well.

Study the History of Ancient Greece,"Sodm&Gomorrah," and Ancient Rome,"when All their soldiers became Homosexuals&Pedophiles they were defeated by their enemies,almost without firing an arrow!"
What's going to happen,if three out of four men,living in one room,in the U.S.Army or U.S.Marines are Gay??
Will they "rape"the fourth Soldier or Marine??
Homosexuals have to recruit,since most of them are males and can't have their own children.
They will recruit recruits,by force,if necessary!
What happens if they want "Family Housing"for their "partner(s)??"
Will the Federal Government,then,legalize Homosexual Marriages??
Remember,Gay Folks:" with Marriage comes Divorce,alimony and child support of any and all adopted children,etc.
It's Not all"Fun&Sex!" Legal Responsibility is part of any Marriage.

Petey boy. You should study a little more, try books this time. Alexander the Great had his horse and the odd boy friend. Jesus apparently surrounded himself with young men. Rome lasted quite awhile and their legions had an excellent batting average. Homosexuals then, as now, were a minority within the population. The more successful societies incorporated them, or, at the least, quietly tolerated them.

By the by, Pete?

Remember 300? The movie about 300 Spartans who killed an entire army of Persians?

Spartans were the most violent and vicious warriors in the times of Ancient Greece, yet when they were forced into marriage, they dressed the women up as men for the wedding night. This is because the Spartan men were in their army at a young age and were used to having sex with each other to the point that the concept of sleeping with a woman was completely foreign.

So if you think about it, Leonidas and his 299 men were probably dining on each other (in the Biblical sense) before they went to dine in hell. The Spartans were rampantly homosexual, and yet they fought and died for their country.

To ExpatDE: I find it interesting that you mentioned "pulpit" in your comment as stay that religious beliefs are driving dissenting speech. I can only speak for myself being a male active duty military member and a Southern Baptist, but personal choices are just that, personal. It would be similar to me pushing religion on someone with a different perspective where we voice our differences and then choose our own path to follow. I just find it disheartening that people cannot accept other peoples' choices without being awnry. You are correct in that some use the pulpit as the prod and crutch other than accepting a personal choice. As for the DADT, I could care less. From my experience, 99% of gay people I have met have (1) called me out as hetero and respected me and (2) were conservative in their behavior as I am with my wife and 2 kids. Just like most things, it is the minority that gives things a bad wrap. Lets just sign the bill, give the pats on the back where they are deserved and go on fighting. Just my opinion.

Ernie wonders, " Will they “rape”the fourth Soldier or Marine??
Homosexuals have to recruit,since most of them are males and can’t have their own children."

It's this kind of bizarre thinking that shows just how out of touch homophobes are with reality. All we can do is teach our children that there are people out there who think like this, and that we can only do our best to try to shine some light into the darkness of their brains.

Ernie, can you please learn this FACT: Gays don't "recruit". They are BORN THAT WAY, and they will never "die out" because they are naturally replaced in each generation, probably at least 10% of the population is born so. Accept it. Live with it. Welcome them as equals and stop making them fight for the same rights that the rest of us have.

From a Canadian study:

“…gays and lesbians are at higher risk for a number of deadly diseases and disorders that reduce the life spans of gay and bisexual men by 20 years compared to the average man in Canada. The complaint also contends that:
•Gays and lesbians commit suicide at a rate from twice to 13.9 times more often than the general population.
•Homosexual smoking rates are 1.3 to 3 times higher than the general population.
•Alcoholism rates among homosexuals are 1.4 to 7 times higher than the general population.
•Illegal drug use is 1.6 to 19 times higher among homosexuals than the general population.
•Rates of depression are 1.8 to 3 times higher among homosexuals than the general population.”

Source: Accuracy In Media, Obama Celebrates “Gay Pride” as HIV Cases Rise



All the stats you cite point to the last stat — depression. Where do gays get that higher rate of depression? Could it possibly be because they are forced to hide and be ashamed of who they are? Ya think?! As society becomes more mature and adult about sexuality, and the troglodytes die out, those stats will probably drop.

Mole wrote:
“Ernie, can you please learn this FACT: Gays don’t “recruit”. They are BORN THAT WAY, and they will never “die out” …

This view is completely false. Its propagated by a public misconception about the role of DNA in complex social behaviors.

The view is called genetic determinism.

Please remember that DNA cannot and will not control what you choose to do.
We are not slaves to DNA…
Human beings have free will….

Disagree..? If a person practicing homosexuality chooses to abandon the lifestyle. He forces himself to think differently and succeeds. Did he force the DNA “he was born with” to change?

…Lordy, Lordy…the good news just keeps on gettin' better!

FINALLY, Congress has buried the DADT abortion. That piece of crap, blatant schoolyard hypocrisy from the get-go, should get the bums' rush straight to the latrine IMHO. I know, I know, it's a Democrap wannado. Most hard line Republicans will disagree with my assessment, but do I care? Hell no. Not a smidgen of a hint of a damn. Here are some inconvenient stats for righteous righties to chew on:
Nota Bene:
– 1 in 10 rape victims are men. (Rathus, Nevid and Fichner-Rathus, 568) Said in 'horse sense' lingo, 90% are not male. No reliable stats on 'gay' vs. 'Deliverance' perpetrators.
– In a survey answered by hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies, they estimated that 93.7 percent of male rape perpetrators are male and 6.3 percent were female. Again, no distinction was drawn by the study anent sexual preference. (Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 575)
– Many people do not believe that male rape by a female exists. However, penile erection can be achieved under emotional duress such as anger, fear, and pain even if the male does not wish it. (Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 576; Lips, 234)
* Lesbians report “physically or mentally coercive sex” more often than do gay men. One study found that thirty-one percent of lesbians reported forced sexual encounters versus twelve percent of gay men. (Scholars have presumed that lesbians and gay men disagree on what is considered “aggressive.” Often, lesbian reports contain statements of how they were emotionally abused as well as physically abused. Moreover, lesbians are often times more “sensitized” to “sexual coercion” and can more easily identify it, while gay men more often consider “coercion as fair play.”) (Schwartz and Rutter, 67)

When showering at an Army camp,
And you watch the soap hit the floor,
DON'T bend over to pick it up,
To avoid an 'ami du coer.'

When strolling 'round an Army base,
And your car keys hit the ground 'ker-thwack!
DON'T bend over to pick them up,
Kick 'em to the nearest MP shack.

Even though the raw data are sketchy, common sense would
lead one to conclude that even infinitesimally rare gay sexual predation
upon a 'straight' individual is highly improbable when the
aggressor is well aware that his intended victim has arms-length
access to a fully loaded M-16 rifle (5.56×45 mm) or Beretta M-9 pistol (9 mm), not to mention his government issued Ka-Bar Fighting Knife (7” serrated blade, 1095 carbon steel). Gay rapists are as rare as dentures on a duck, but it’s a surety they’re not brainless.

WMDfall – no, the FACT that gays are born that way is that – a FACT. The idea that a homosexual can "force himself to think differently" and change is ridiculous. The saddest cases are young men brought up in a very strict fundamentalist religious environment where they are taught that they are abominations. So, they play the game – find a woman to marry and when they eventually turn to another man because they can no longer deny what they are, there is plenty of heartache to to around.

I assume you are straight. could you "force yourself to think differently" and become straight? Of course not, because your sexual orientation was determined while you were in the womb.

I led a rifle squad in Vietnam…Everyone knew who the Gays were…their performance was as good as any other trained combat individual…the troops were under the jurisdiction of the UCMJ…the Uniform Code of Military Justice…have sex in a barracks?…with another male…Or female….right….It is covered under the UCMJ…and the penalties are stricter and harsher than Civil law. The mobs of Rome were not how to run a country…have the homophobics take a "Shut up pill and count their toes, over and over, to keep their attention span"…the US has the best troops in the world…they have more things to worry about than who's sleeping with who…

Mole wrote:
“The saddest cases are young men brought up in a very strict fundamentalist religious environment … So, they play the game – find a woman to marry and when they eventually turn to another man because they can no longer deny what they are, there is plenty of heartache to to around.”

Its also sad when older men chase after younger more shapely women. Did you know men are genetically predisposed to like firm bodies? And yes there is a lot of heartache that goes around.

Did the old man have a choice, mole?

Your argument isn't very strong, if you put it that way.
Genetic determinism is a false and hard to defend.

WMDfall You seem to be agreeing with my point. The old man has feelings for a younger woman (which is "hardwired" into him), and if he acts on this there will be heartache. My example was a gay man being forced by his fundamentalist religious upbringing to deny who he is, and enter into a heterosexual relationship which will result in lots of heartache for his wife and family. Both of these men have made a mistake which causes grief. On the other hand, if the young gay man had been allowed to be who he is and enter a gay relationship openly and freely, there would be happiness instead of grief.

WMDfall – Even IF the gay man had a choice to become what he is (which he didn't), why would making that choice get you into a knot? How would it affect you in any way? Would he try to force you to be gay? Nonsense. Do you want gays and lesbians to be straight? If so, why?

Thank goodness we got DADT repealed. Knowing that the fate of our nation hung in the balance on that monumental decision, it certainly was the the right time to forget about the economy, the deficit, unemployment, terrorism and illegal immigration….if just for a little while. I think congress should get back into that Roger Clemens thing asap, before it reaches “the tipping point”.

Gsud1 wrote
“I think congress should get back into that Roger Clemens thing asap, before it reaches “the tipping point”.

Yes, did you notice how congress had to force through the bush tax cut bill allowing tax cuts for the super rich…because we were quote “running out time”. So debate was limited and it was “to late to make changes”.

WMDfall says, "In your mothers womb were you genetically predisposed to become sympathetic to the homosexual rights or did you look at the issue and make a choice? Pick one."

No, we don't have to pick one; both impact how we react to the world. Humans are genetically predisposed to be sympathetic to others of the species. Evolution has determined that this is beneficial to survival of the species. On the other hand, we also have to be selfish to a certain extent to ensure our own survival. So our family environment will teach us the balance that is needed to take care of ourselves while at the same time looking after others in our family, and then looking after strangers.

All of this has little to do with the starting point of this debate. An individual who is born to be a homosexual is what he is. If he is born with blue eyes, he of course cannot ignore that and change them to brown. But he is pushed into trying to change his sexual orientation by homophobic (usually religious), family and others. So, he tries, and inevitably fails. His life is made a misery by those who teach him that what he is, is wrong and evil. Fortunately, we are moving to a time where no one will care any more about his sexual orientation than the colour of his eyes.

Put yourself in his shoes and reverse the situation for yourself. What if you suddenly woke up in a homosexual society where your heterosexual nature was deemed to be sick and evil, and you were told that if you worked hard enough at it, you could develop an interest in other men (I'm assuming here that you are male). Could you? Would you?

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