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Don't ask; please, don't ask

For those of us that have a stake or have had a stake in making gays a reality in the military, a big step was taken this week.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Sen. Carl Levin (chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) among others, introduced new legislation to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy (S.3065). The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Armed Services headed by Sen. Levin.

Sitting on this committee, Sen. Lieberman will be a powerful negotiator but faces stiff competition with the flip-flopping Sen. John McCain who has recently come out hard against the repeal. This bill is very similar to legislation that was introduced to the House last year about this time (H.R.1283), which is still sitting in the House Committee on Armed Services.

What does this mean in reality? These bills could sit in committees for years or die if (and that is a big IF) the bill receives no further support.

Fortunately, these bills are receiving very strong urgency from President Obama and more co-sponsors will continue to sign on. It may be taking a longer time than anticipated, but this is a goal of our current administration. Since bills must go through both the House and the Senate before it goes to the President, this is still a big stepping-stone.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell from a military standpoint is more like Don’t Ask, Please, Don’t Ask. Telling is often not the problem, rather the “Asking” portion is.

Personally, being gay in the military had zero affect on my ability to perform my duties or others around me to perform theirs. However, this never prevented those intent on removing homosexuality from the Marine Corps, from attempting to root out those of us that served.

This is where those opposed to gays in the military have a problem. The key words they use are that it is “inconsistent with good order and discipline.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

When I was in Iraq, sex wasn’t necessarily the last thing on my mind, but it definitely wasn’t anywhere near the first. The welfare of my troops, the protection of the man next to me who was also protecting me, the success of the mission, the next task at hand, my weapon; these were the things I was thinking about. These are the types of things that matter more than anything. And these things take precedence over any and all other thoughts on everyone’s mind, not just mine.

A big issue that people raise when speaking about gays in the military is sex. I can attest that my sex drive did not diminish upon entering the Marine Corps. If anything, sure, the drive went up a little bit…ok, a lot. Why not? I’m surrounded by an abundance of physically fit, masculine guys in uniform.

The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy never deterred me from window-shopping, but straight is straight and gay is gay. I only have gay currency and I can’t buy straight merchandise. I can’t see any difference between me checking out (not touching) the guy running in front of me and someone else checking out the girl running in front of him.

The bottom line is, who I’m physically attracted to never has and never will detract from my ability to perform my responsibilities in or out of the military. As far as the showers go, get your minds out of the gutter, it is no different than any gym in the country.

The new bill allows for openly gay men and women to join or even rejoin if they have been removed for their sexuality. So would I join again under a new policy? It’s definitely a firm possibility; one that I’m looking forward to taking into account and something I would never hesitate to recommend to those looking for alternative career options.

Joey is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, a prior Marine, and a triathlete. Originally from Illinois, he moved to San Diego in 2004 and fell in love. He writes for pleasure while traveling the world and continuing his education. He believes that experience is the spice of life and tries to find new things to see, do, and write about, everywhere he goes.