Dawn (alphasunrise) wrote,

Opinions and comments

Opinions from various readings/news programs through the week.

- There is no parallel between Schiavo and the Pope, except that they have both died. And if you're worried about what happened in Florida happening to you or your family, then it's time to get around to writing that living will, eh?

- A group of intolerant Christians is no more representative of all Christians than a pack of vicious dogs represents all dogs. (Via a discussion in the adult forum at HPANA Encountering such a group is also not a reason to abandon the faith; all that does is leave the nutcases in the majority, so they can make things worse. And yes, I'm doing the pot-and-kettle thing. I did indeed leave the church of my childhood when I grew worldly enough to understand just how much money mattered to the conference and how little our spiritual needs meant. I hear they are doing much better, now that the woman who caused most of that breach is now gone. (Ministry is a calling, not a job for one's retirement years.)

- I'm pleased that Canada denied asylum to our deserter. And that the Navy is finally getting around to charging one who, instead of running to Canada, ran his mouth instead.

And now the big-ticket item, via this discussion at womenwarriors. The military is a reflection of society, because it's drawn from society. The policy on homosexual behavior is drawn from society. If you want it to change, then society has to change.

It's not the same thing as racial integration--and do we really want integrating those who prefer same-sex couplings to go the same way as racial integration did, anyway? Race riots, anyone? Except that they would be much more intimate and personal sorts of riots--more like a beating than a riot. The race riots were because society hadn't adjusted to integration yet, and so everyone brought all of their prejudices and fears and baggage with them when they joined up.

And to some folks, the integration would be akin to having mixed-gender berthing. Some folks are quite simply uncomfortable with the idea of undressing in front of someone from the opposite gender, and would feel the same. (Although I have heard some fellows complain that it would be unfair, you know. That they ought to be allowed to bunk with women out of fairness, so they could see what they like in the morning, too. Childish, yes.) As a personal note, this bothers me not at all. My first ship had 142 racks in my berthing. I am pretty certain that at least 20% of the women in my berthing were either lesbian or bi, but they did keep it off the ship where all sexual matters belong. Didn't really bother me, but I acknowledge that society trains us to be more accepting of lesbians than of gay men.

Now, someone suggested that a person with a problem should move to another room, and I think I answered that over there. But a point of reference: My berthing compartment has nine racks, for women in paygrades E7 to E9, with three sinks, two seats, and one shower stall. The male CPO is larger. These are the only berthing compartments for Chiefs, aside from the Marine berthings. The E6 and below spaces are significantly larger, and only the female berthings are mixed departments. Everyone else bunks with their department. [Department as in 'Engineering' or 'Supply' or 'Combat Systems'] Moving is not an option. And segregating berthings by sexual preference just isn't happening. And we're stuck together for six months at a time, sometimes longer.

We're also talking about fear, here. Rational or not, to deny its existence is to be deluded. And the images most straight folks get of GLBT aren't helping. Steve Yuhas addresses that somewhat here. Now, I'm 38 years old, and have lived in California for nearly ten years. At the risk of sounding condescending, I've met many people that I knew were gay/lesbian (and probably many more that I didn't know were), and they're weren't 'Fab Five'. They weren't the stereotypes at all. Because people aren't stereotypes. However, put my hick butt back in Indiana, make a few different choices, and Queer Eye, the images of Gay Pride Day from the big cities, and Ellen are the sum total of my experience. (Except for my Aunt's thieving friend. And that image doesn't help.) People simply don't know any better, because they have no idea that the normal guy living next door, the one they say hello to in the morning and wave at as he pulls into his driveway while they are watering the lawn--they have no idea that that fellow likes fellows. "Jim" is a stand-up guy. But they can't understand 'those homosexual folks'. Pity, that. And TV doesn't help.

And then the insulated fellow joins the Navy.

Now, our insulated fellow is out on liberty, and alcohol is involved, and someone makes an offer that perhaps he doesn't understand, and he gets scared and lashes out. (Alcohol. Oh, alcohol. The cause of so many problems on liberty.) Not saying it's right, just saying that it will happen.

And guys already know that the system doesn't always protect the women. (We aren't going into that now. Let me just say that it's a lot better than it was 18 years ago.) Add to that, the idea that a lot of men won't report harassment from another man. Again, society raised them that way.

So what is Dawn saying here? That homosexuals should never be allowed in the military? Oh, hell, no. What I'm saying is that it's not as simple as some folks make it out to be. Society has to change, fears have to be allayed, and generally, acceptance has to grow. It's not as simple as changing the policy. It's not just a signature on a document, if you want it to really work.

And I really do.

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