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Hehe, they said Seamen

A local gay military person is part of a group suing over the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (you know, that super-duper, pro-gay rights policy that a Democrat gave us):

The Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is being challenged by 12 gays who have been separated from the military because of their homosexuality.

They planned to file a federal lawsuit Monday in Boston that would cite last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that overturned state laws making gay sex a crime.

One of them is Justin Peacock, a former Coast Guard boatswain’s mate from Knoxville. He was kicked out after someone reported he was seen holding hands with another man.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” was put in place during the Clinton administration to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military only if they kept quiet about their sexual orientation and abstain from homosexual activity. The Pentagon’s previous policy barred homosexuals from military service.

I’m honestly indifferent regarding the gays in the military thing. The reason is, assuming someone is openly gay, that other straight soldiers (who are generally not known for their open-mindedness) may take issue and be unwilling to serve with them, defend them, or stick their neck out for them; or, worse, commit violence against their gay compatriots. Additionally, closeted gays in sensitive positions may be victims of blackmail that could compromise their security position. At the end of the day, soldiers have a job to do and if someone being gay interferes with that job, it is problematic and somebody may get killed over it.

That said, if someone is gay and wants to be soldier and other soldiers don’t seem to have a problem with it, I don’t see there being a problem. And, of course, we can’t segregate gay units from straight units as segregation is an ugly word.

18 Responses to “Hehe, they said Seamen

  1. lobbygow Says:

    Gays will eventually serve in the Army without concealing their sexual orientation. It’s just a question of when. All of the arguments against it are the same arguments used against having blacks serve.

  2. Countertop Says:

    Their is another issue here – which no one likes to talk about – but is the real driving concern.

    On the battlefield, quick blood transfusions are needed. The introduction of gay men into the military serves as a giant risk to the army’s blood supply.

    Libs and gays don’t like to discuss it, but the fact remains if your a male who is neither gay (or bisexual – they are probably at an even higher risk due to the types of illicit encounters they have) or an iv drug user you stand, statistically speaking, a near zero chance of having AIDS or HIV.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Dunno LG. Never met a closeted black dude.

  4. Manish Says:

    SU…regarding LG’s point, if gays are allowed to serve openly, then it is the same issue.

    Countertop..not going to dignify with a response.

    you know, that super-duper, pro-gay rights policy that a Democrat gave us

    I’m not one for defending Democrats on their general punting of this issue, but you have to remember that when Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell was implemented, the military had on its application the question “Are you gay?” and if you answered yes, you were disqualified. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a step in the right direction, though we should be moving towards a place where gays serve openly.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    not going to dignify with a response

    Why? Seems a legitimate issue to me. Whether it’s likely to taint blood or not, the perception is there that it could and that makes soldiers antsy. And if any group doesn’t need to be antsy, it’d be soldiers.

  6. Stormy Dragon Says:

    It seems odd to me that if you have a problem with a soldier refusing to serve with a homosexual, that the solution is kick the homosexual out of the military.

    If we had a bunch of racist soldiers who refused to serve with blacks, we wouldn’t resegregate the military just to please them; we’d tell racist soldier to shut up and get back to work before we booted their asses into the brig.

    You don’t deal with gross insubordination by catering to the insubordinate soldier.

  7. Countertop Says:

    Thanks Uncle.

    Thats part of the point I was trying to make. There is a certain mind set out there that refuses to address the situation head on. Andrew Sullivan might not like it, but sometimes the truth is ugly.

    The risk/fear of contaminating battlefield blood supplies, like it or not, is a major factor for the continued segregation of gays from the military.

    Sure, there are other reasons gays have historically been banned from the military (other soldiers don’t want to sleep/shower,etc with them and nothing you say is going to change their minds) but this remains the one issue that cannot be effectivly rebutted.

    Sure, I guess we could test everyone in the military for AIDS and then prohibit sex . . . but thats not going to happen. Whats the alternative?

    Removing high risk behavior, and statistically speaking young sexually active gay males and IV drug users encompass almost the entire domestic population at risk for AIDS/HIV.

    Of course, one way to reduce this risk is by introducing stability and monogamy to gays . . . . perhaps via marriage.

  8. lobbygow Says:

    Countertop…

    Would you support mandatory blood testing for ALL recruits? That would seem to be a solution that doesn’t require discrimination against homosexuals. If we don’t allow guys with flat feet to serve…

  9. lobbygow Says:

    your a male who is neither gay (or bisexual – they are probably at an even higher risk due to the types of illicit encounters they have) or an iv drug user you stand, statistically speaking, a near zero chance of having AIDS or HIV.

    That sounds like complete bullshit to me. Do you have a link to a reference on this statistic?

  10. Countertop Says:

    I am pretty certain we have mandatory testing for all recruits. If we don’t, then strike me as dumbfounded. I think I did address that though. Even if we tested all the blood of recruits, unless there is a prohibition on active gay behavior for members of the military, statistically speaking, the results of the initial blood test will mean little. Of course, I think trying to stop people from having sex is ludicrous.

    However, the military can do whatever it wants to do. Thats my position and generally the position of the law. When you enter the military, you are no longer afforded the civilian protections afforded under the constitution.

  11. tgirsch Says:

    Countertop:

    When you enter the military, you are no longer afforded the civilian protections afforded under the constitution.

    Sounds like an excellent reason never to serve. I agree to put my life on the line for my country, and in return, not only do I get shitty pay, but I forefeit basic civil liberties and government protections, to boot? Where do I sign?!?

  12. Countertop Says:

    Lobbygrow:

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/stats.htm#exposure

    As of 2002, CDC was reporting 886,575 cases of AIDS. By far, the highest concentration is between the ages of 25 and 44 – 649,138 cases (73%). Recent trends have probably skewed the figures dramatically upwards for 15-24 year olds catagory as well. My educated guess (generally born out by the data) is that in the last two years the HIV infection rate (as opposed to AIDS rate) for 18-24 year old males is skyrocketing.

    In any case, women account for only 159,271 cases, or 17% (40% of these comes from IV drug use and about 60% comes from heterosexual sex – mostly with IV drug users or bisexual males. 4% of cases come from some other form of exposure such as hemophilia, blood transfusion, etc).

    Amongst males, the numbers are simply staggering.

    47% come from gay men.
    20% are IV drug users
    7% are the especially dommed subgroup of gay IV drug users.
    only 5% comes from heterosxual contact (much of which is accounted for by unprotected sex with IV drug using prostitutes – I can’t find the figures that fully break this subgroup out, but i have it somewhere in my office.)
    1% comes from other forms of exposure

    The typical behavior of an early 20s heterosexual male accounts for only a small share of the 5% of AIDS from heterosexual contact. When I find it, I’ll post the figures. Also, remember that these are AIDS cases as of 2002 – not necessarily HIV cases – the numbers of which are probably higher but the distribution of which is mostly the same (IV drug user rates for AIDs are probably slightly higher on whole because of the inability of that population to effectivly follow the rigorous drug intake schedule most HIV+ individuals follow to hold off full blown AIDS.)

    If anyone has any different figures, I’d love to see them.

  13. Manish Says:

    47% come from gay men.

    Which means that 53% of cases are straight men. Granted there are way more straight people then gays, so you are more likely to have AIDS if you are gay, however, no alarm bells are ringing

    As of 2002, CDC was reporting 886,575 cases of AIDS

    Out of 300 million people in the U.S., this says that AIDS is still pretty rare. So what you have is a rare disease that afflicts a certain group at a higher level. You could test all recruits for AIDS and do ongoing testing for AIDS and other ailments. I see nothing wrong with that…the military requires people who can pass certain physical requirements.

    The risk/fear of contaminating battlefield blood supplies, like it or not, is a major factor for the continued segregation of gays from the military.

    This I don’t completely understand. Do they do transfusions from one soldier to another right on the battlefield or do they get donations of blood and use those on the battlefield, similar to civilian usage?

    If AIDS is the issue, then test for AIDS and keep those infected off the battlefield.

    However, making sweeping generalizations to judge one person is wrong and un-American. Should blacks be excluded from military or police service because they are more likely to be criminals? There are many straight people who are promiscuous and making assumptions that bi-sexuals get themselves into risky situations while straights are as innocent as the driven snow is both wrong and naive.

  14. Countertop Says:

    Which means that 53% of cases are straight men.

    Nope. It means that 17% comes from women, 20% from IV drug users, 7% from gay IV drug users, etc. Actually thats my fault. I should have made it clear that these were precentages of the total AIDS population, not of men with AIDS.

    this says that AIDS is still pretty rare.

    Yep. Actually, what I’ve always found fascinating is how many more people would be benefited by directing AIDS funds to the cure for other diseases that effect substantially more people. Why don’t we, cause the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Thats fine, but its something you should be aware of.

    As far as testing, I have no problem with constant testing. However, as I understand it, it might take months or even years for an HIV infection to show up in a blood test. It doesn’t take nearly that long before you can pass it on. I think this is something the the porn industry learned this summer.

    Do they do transfusions from one soldier to another right on the battlefield or do they get donations of blood and use those on the battlefield

    They do what is needed. I doubt that in Iraq (or heck, even in Desert Storm, they were doing battlefield transfusions. However, if needed, thats what will occur.

    making sweeping generalizations to judge one person is wrong and un-American

    I didn’t make a sweeping generalization. I didn’t judge one person. And what exactly did I say that was “un-American”?

    Should blacks be excluded from military or police service because they are more likely to be criminals?

    You said it not me. Just goes to prove once again that the liberal left is really the heart of racism in America. Travis Smiley was right.

    making assumptions that bi-sexuals get themselves into risky situations while straights are as innocent as the driven snow is both wrong and naive.

    Seems to me that your the one reading into things and making assumptions.

    If you don’t think the average bi-sexual engages in more risky sexual behavior than the average heterosexual . . . . . . .

  15. Manish Says:

    Countertop…Seems to me that your the one reading into things and making assumptions.

    then why is it risky for gay men to be in the military except for making the assumption that a lot of gays have AIDS? That seems to be the whole argument…that openly serving gays are risking an outbreak of AIDS in the military, seems to be based on the assumption that a lot of them have AIDS which is flatly wrong and prejudicial.

    Actually, what Iíve always found fascinating is how many more people would be benefited by directing AIDS funds to the cure for other diseases

    I agree. A prof of mine back in the day got a lot of heat for saying that assumptions on how much HIV would spread were way overblown. However, obviously, some amount of funds should go towards AIDS research.

  16. Manish Says:

    A few more points:

    I didnít make a sweeping generalization. I didnít judge one person. And what exactly did I say that was ďun-American”?

    When you say that gays should not be allowed to openly serve, you do so because of the risk to the battlefield blood supply, which inherently means that you are saying that a gay person represents an unacceptable risk for spreading AIDS even if said gay person doesn’t have AIDS. Furthermore, your argument is even more silly when one considers that there are some number of gays serving in the military currently, but doing so unmentioned.

    If you donít think the average bi-sexual engages in more risky sexual behavior than the average heterosexual

    Being someone who knows a few bi-sexuals, I can tell you that the porno that you are watching is not necessarily representative. Many of these people don’t have orgies all the time as you might think. Most have sex lives that are similar to sexually-active heterosexuals. A former male heterosexual roommate of mine was once in a relationship with a bi-sexual woman and they were like any other couple…neither slept with anyone else while they were going out. And in the case of female bi-sexuals, they have a lower chance of contracting AIDS because some amount of the time they are with a woman rather than a man.

    However, as I understand it, it might take months or even years for an HIV infection to show up in a blood test.

    Approximately 6 months from what I understand. However, this risk is going to be there regardless as its 6 months when a heterosexual contracts AIDS or someone gets it via unclean needles.

  17. rich Says:

    1. AIDS testing is mandatory in the military on an annual basis. Service members who test positive are removed from their units immediately and sent to care units until their EAOS.

    2. Seroconversion and the possibility of transferance occurs well before a positive test result. Seroconversion occurs within weeks; it takes months for a positive test result.

    3. Battlefield transfusion of untested blood is so rarely a necessity, and the rate of HIV infection in the military population is so low that the chances af transmitting HIV that way are negligible.

    4. “Negligible” is not zero, but the chance of dying in some messy way in combat is significantly higher than catching AIDS. And I’d much rather live for 10-30 years with HIV than bleed out on a battlefield somewhere.

    5. Taken together, the above means it simply isn’t an issue.

    I’ve lived on board ship, and believe me, there is no privacy anywhere, even the toilet. I was on the USS Shenandoah, a coed ship. Shortly before I reported for duty, they’d installed glass ports in every non watertight door in the ship to try and cut down on pregnancies during deployment.

    Healthy kids in good shape away from home are going to have sex.

    Period.

    The question becomes, does it affect battle readiness? The answer is unquestionably yes. As LPO of my division, approximately 20% of my time was spent dealing with issues arising from the coed nature of the division, including 2 charges of sexual harrassment, one real and one made up. But most of the headaches came from the breakup of shipboard romances when the two folks had to continue working together.

    It wasn’t pretty, especially when one of the partners hooked up with someone new.

    Now, we were able to get the job done anyway, but we were a support facility. Imagine a combat unit facing similar problems. Unless someone wants to suggest that gays have more self discipline that straights, opening the service to openly gay servicemembers will introduce these problems to the battlefield.

    The issues are not insurmountable, but the question becomes how many extra deaths are we willing to accept to allow gays to serve? We had to ask a similar question when we integrated women into the military while allowing them to meet less rigid physical performance standards. Is the benefit of inclusion worth the cost in lives?

    It’s not an issue of whether gays are capable and willing to serve; I worked with a throttleman aboard the Nimitz who was caught in a tryst in a shower (giving head in the head, as it were)during a power outage while we were out at sea. He was a good throttleman and electrician, and stood a professional watch, and he was a nice kid. But he was flown off the ship the next day.

    Ignoring the fact that he was gay, he showed a serious lack of self discipline as well as extremely poor judgment, and that’s not a combination of personality traits that you want in someone who’s running a nuclear reactor.

    These issues are real, and they won’t just go away because we want to be inclusive any more than those glass ports eliminated pregnancies during deployments. Integrating gay servicemembers into the military will require a complete rethinking of how units are organized, how soldiers are trained, and how they live and work together.

    It can be done, but there will be a price paid. Will it be worth that price?

    I don’t know.

  18. Manish Says:

    Rich…thanks for presenting a lot of facts on this issue.

    As to the argument about sexual relations getting in the way of preparedness, I would offer the following:

    1)Gays are already serving in the military and have been doing so probably since the Revolutionary War. And gays will hook up with other gays without having to be open about sexual orientation as your example shows. Don’t you think it would be better for them to be able to be open about their relationships just like straight couples? (I’m assuming that openly having a relationship with another service person is allowed.) Obviously, they are going to have relationships regardless.

    2)Assuming that having women serve is o.k., I would think that having gays serve is going to be less of a problem. Why? Because quite simply, there are fewer gays and thus fewer relationships, while with heterosexual men and women, there will be far more hooking up going on due to larger numbers.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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