Don’t Ask…Don’t Acknowledge
Artist, mogul, and American icon Jay-Z once said, “Being born black is like being born with a presumption of guilt.” As a black man I can say that this statement holds true, but in more ways than the struggles of the African American race. It can be applied to how the world presumes whites, athletes, politicians, fast food workers, and any other title or category that one might fall under. As a soldier (though National Guard) people tend to presume that I am a person of high values, someone with standards, an enforcer of justice and the law (although I have an unpaid parking ticket in my name, but lets not focus on that) although I tend to agree with those presumptions, I recognize that perception isn’t always reality. Through my short seven months of training with the United States Army I’ve learned that though the uniform gives off a certain image, there are a number of men and women who wear it that come from different backgrounds, and have different ideals that break the preconceived notions that many have of them (myself included). The most prominent example being the homosexual men and women who protect our country; more particularly the men.
President Barack Obama made a bold move by repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy implemented through the Armed Forces in regards to open homosexuality. It stated that gay men and women serving the country were not allowed to be open with their sexuality, because it was argued that it would be a distraction among troops, and bring down the overall morale needed to complete the missions (the same argument used against minorities and women). With that said, I’ve ran into a number of gay soldiers (I was unaware about many of them until they told me) and none of them have ever made me uncomfortable, in fact some of them have received multiple awards due to their ability to work with other and display of leadership among their peers. Yet even though they have proven their worth, many of them are still treated as if they are less relevant than their comrades. So I decided to interview a gay soldier (who will be referred to as Private X) in order to get his point of view on being gay in the Army.
How are you doing?
I’m fine, how are you?
Im chillin’ man, just chillin’. So how long have you acknowledged yourself as homosexual?
I never really had an intrest in men or women when most were starting that phase where they realized the “new feelings” of puberty. All I gave a damn about was computers and Star Wars. It wasn’t until I was around 16 that I started to feel emotions towards men.
How did you feel about it? Were you ashamed?
Well naturally I was ashamed because it wasn’t normal. At the age when all you want to do is fit in, and a time where my feelings where alot less understood or accepted than now. I was a mess.
So when did you finally come out?
In all honesty I never really ever came out to the world like “Hey! I’m here. I’m queer. Lets Party!”
(I interrupt with uncontrollable laughter then apologize.) Continue Please?
But my eventually my parents found out and once that pill was swallowed I really never thought about it one way or the other.
So were you brought up in a Christian or religious household?
Yes. I was raised Southern Methodist.
I didn’t know there was a such thing as Southern Methodist, I thought they were all the same. Well I assume it isn’t too different from the whole “Baptist and Southern Baptist” thing right?
I’d imagine so.
So how did that go over with your family?
Of course they told me it that they believed it was a sin, and I shouldn’t act on it. But they also told me that alcoholism, lust, and greed are sins too, and my family is filled with sinners by those definitions.
With that said, how do you feel as a gay man in the Army, I know it isn’t just a lust fest for you, but do you ever find yourself attracted to any of the men here?
Of course. You find yourself attracted to the females no?
Yes…..there are a select few females in the Army I’ve found attractive (laughing).
Ok then, but I’m sure you respect them, and don’t just harass them, especially after all the HR and sexual harassment classes and all.
True. True. So if we’re being honest even though you don’t advertise your sexuality, you do display feminine traits at times, so I wasn’t totally surprised when you told me.
Well congrats Sherlock. [He laughs but I can tell he’s a little annoyed]
How do you feel about the things that others say to demean openly gay soldiers? I feel sorry for both parties. I feel sorry for the idiot that can’t let it go because deep down he’s covering for hidden insecurities. And I feel sorry that the victim has to deal with the ignorance. I’m sure you feel the way when somebody is being a jackass towards you because of your race or accent.
Your Spanish is subpar at best, lets not exploit that too much further.
I appreciate the compliment.
Denada. Ok I’m done now.
Thank you. Now do you feel like the Army does enough to enlighten soldiers on Equal Opportunity?
Hell Yes. Hell No.
In regards to rascism, sexcism, and even suicide prevention, the Army is very good as far as information and guidance is concerned, almost too much. But the homosexual issue is so new and taboo, it’s almost ignored.
Like, it’s more implied than than addressed?
Exactly, and that leaves the door open for us to be harassed. No it’s not on a hazing or even Scarlet Letter type of deal, but things definitely are said or done that wouldn’t fly in other instances.
So do you feel like gay is the new black?
Yeah! In the good and bad way. Some people try too become part of the culture because they think it’s the cool thing to do. While we are still fighting for rights that are given to us by God.
And if not by him, the Constitution.
Well done young padawan.
Speaking of, Disney is going to be behind Episode VII. How disgusted are you?
I can’t tell you how bad I cringed when I first heard, but let’s be honest, “Pirates of The Caribbean” isn’t that bad. And JJ Abrams is the director, he also directed the show LOST, did you watch it?
No but I heard it’s good.
Yeah, you like weird shit like that. Invest in Netflix and thank me later.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard me refer too situations as “gay” when I didn’t like them, and I’m not the only person who does this. Is this generally offensive in the homosexual community?
Well when I become the president of the gay’s I’ll let you know. But I really don’t care. When we listen to rap songs I don’t skip saying “nigga” do I? You don’t have a problem with that?
So it’s the same way, some people take offense to it more than others. some black people would try to fight me, some gay people would do the same too you.
We aren’t too different you and I?
You have a really snappy attitude guy (while I laugh in slight embarrassment).
What can I say, I am gay you know.
I don’t really know how to respond.
Stop being gay and laugh.
Thank you for your interest in how I and others feel.
It’s no problem man. Anything else you wanna’ say?
I’m just one voice, but I want to say that if no one speaks up, no one will listen to our story. Yes we’ve come a long way, but we have a much longer way to go. If you recognize that your arm has been feeling funny for the past few weeks, ignoring it won’t help once you for u have a stroke. With that said, I really can’t think of anything else to say.
Well I thank you for your time.
Thank you for listening.