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Please Ask, Do Tell

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Please Ask, Do Tell

“I don’t want no feminine person defending me in the army”


I try not to be desensitized by comments like this. I try to be as offended as I was the first time I encountered ignorance. But in reality, once you hear something for so long, it can never strike you in the same way as the first time you encountered it. Fortunately, when I heard a high school student say this comment yesterday it was not based out of hate, but simply not knowing, which I can accept as long as the person is open to dissenting thoughts.


Yesterday afternoon we had our first PAECE session of the school year. PAECE is a student group on my campus in which we work with students on mentoring and artistic expression to create performances that are civically charged. Performing Arts for Effective Civic Education, in other words I love working with young people in this group.

“I don’t want no feminine person defending me in the army”
What was most interesting to me is that the person who said this thought it important to express that not all gay people are feminine, and even added that it is important not to fall into the stereotypes of how gay people are portrayed in the media. On this point I agreed with her, but It doesn’t make the quote any better. I understood this to mean that the student skipped over all the preliminary bias and simply went to the root of homophobia, which I believe to be immensely intertwined with sexism. She was ok with some gay man being in the army as long as they were not feminine. I can only assume this is because people view feminism (associating the word with women) as being weaker, submissive, and incapable of doing certain jobs. I only have one question: what is so weak about being feminine? I know men, women, and everything in between that are both feminine while simultaneously being some of the strongest people I know.
We discussed this subject through the scope of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that is being debated in DC even as I write. The law prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts"  from being in the military because some stupid person thinks "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." Yea, this is what I call some bullshit, but to quote my last blog, things will get better. (Hopefully)
President Obama administration just three days ago promised to get the law overturned.

And the President himself continues to say under his presidency, "This policy will end and it will end on my watch."

We’ll see Mr. President, We’ll see.