The Current State Of Gays In The Military, Pre-DADT Repeal

The Washington Post has published a piece about the current state the US military finds itself in, several months before the anticipated repeal of DADT.  The article notes that attitudes have already shifted and are in a strange sort of limbo. To illustrate the point, notes the experience of a young solider stationed in Baghdad whose superiors recently discovered was gay.

6a00d8341c730253ef013483b859b3970c-piThe Post reports:

 "The soldier's command opened an investigation into the charge, and he quickly retained a lawyer. Then, nothing happened. His platoon sergeant told him that his command was going to 'stick the investigation in a manila envelope and put the envelope in a desk,' recalled the soldier, whose name is being withheld at his request."

"The only change he noticed was that his platoon sergeant, once prone to shouting out a derogatory term for gay men, cut back his usage. 'And when he does say it," the soldier noted, "he'll give me a look like he is sorry.'"

"The soldier's case reflects the subtle, but significant, changes taking place throughout the military even before the expected repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.' Although it seems unlikely that changes to the policy will go into effect before next year, front-line troops, their commanders and others are already preparing themselves for the law's demise."

Things haven't been easy for the gay men and women serving in the armed services. More form the Post:

"For some gay soldiers, the current debate surrounding "don't ask, don't tell" has proved tough to manage emotionally. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which provides legal representation to gay members of the military, said it has seen a spike in calls to its hotline in recent months. Troops, the group says, are seeking legal advice and a forum to vent frustration."


  1. Boxerdad says

    I am dumbfounded by the article’s discussion of some chaplains’ angst concerning the repeal. Apparently they have no problem avoiding mention of the christian bible’s strictures against killing, but having to hold their tongues about the sin of homosex is a bridge too far.

  2. ravewulf says

    That first story just makes me feel good inside. For those questioning why, it means that people in the military are actually geting sensitive about gay service member’s feelings in relation to this. It also means that some of the homophobia is already being worked out and gotten rid of not just before the actual repeal, but even before the authority to repeal the law has been granted. I mean, the compromise hasn’t even been fully passed yet.

    Good progress. Let’s keep working at this till the problem is completely gone and DADT is eradicated!

  3. Michael @ says


    If the reporting on every other subject by MSM was as bad as that on DADT, particularly when the authors can’t even connect their own dots, the world would be even dumber than it is already.

    Issue 1: The assumption that the “stick the investigation in a manila envelope and put the envelope in a desk” action was any way connected to discussion of a possible end to the ban is a perfect example of the logical fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc” or “after this therefore because of this.” There is NOTHING in the story to prove the actions were related.

    Issue 2: MORE important is understanding that such delayed action on outed gay service members while they are in a combat zone is not just the typical response since we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, nor the passage of DADT, but throughout the history of the ban going all the way back to WWII.

    The lightbulb should have gone off in the reporter’s head when he also wrote this [emphasis mine:

    “Earlier this month, for example, a soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division AT FORT DRUM, N.Y., applied for married housing benefits on the base with his male partner, whom he had recently wed, Army officials said. The request prompted unit commanders to open a formal investigation, and the soldier, whose action appeared to be an act of protest, COULD BE DISMISSED, Army officials said.”

    In short, when they need cannon fodder, gay cannon fodder is just as good as straight. Outed Soldier 1 is in Iraq; Outed Soldier 2 is in New York.

    Per “Coming Out Under Fire,” by Allen Berube, it once took this extreme form: the adjutant general ordered the commanding general of the West Coast Air Corps Training Center in California to review the cases of some men ALREADY CONVICTED OF SODOMY “to determine their respective availability for military service” with “the view of conserving all available manpower for service in the Army.” He canceled the men’s dishonorable discharges and made them eligible for reassignment AFTER COMPLETING THEIR PRISON SENTENCES!

    In 1945, facing manpower shortages during the final European offensive in Europe, Secty of War, Harry Stimson, ordered a review of all gay discharges and ordered commanders to “salvage” homosexual soldiers for service whenever necessary.

    During the first Gulf War, a Pentagon spokesman said in relation to gay discharges, “Any administrative procedure is dependent on operational considerations of the unit that would administer such proceedings.”

    In the “Army Commander’s Handbook,” updated in 1999 and still in effect, under the criterion of homosexuality: “if discharge is not requested prior to the unit’s receipt of alert notification, discharge isn’t authorized. Member will enter active duty with the unit.”

    In 2005, a military spokesperson acknowledged they were sending openly gay service members into combat in Iraq.

    Bottomline: if this anonymous soldier SURVIVES serving in Iraq and the ban has not been ended by the time he returns to the states, there is NO reason to believe that that manila envelope will not follow him and he will THEN be shitcanned in the Good Ole USA.

  4. says

    “The only change he noticed was that his platoon sergeant, once prone to shouting out a derogatory term for gay men, cut back his usage. ‘And when he does say it,” the soldier noted, “he’ll give me a look like he is sorry.'”

    “Like he is sorry?” And the sergeant “cut back” his use of anti-Gay slurs, but didn’t stop it completely, eh? That’s what I call real progress (not)!

  5. Jerry12 says

    I love to read the comments of people who have, obviously,never served in any branch of the Armed Services pontificating on what is now going on relative to DADT.

    Gentlemen (and Ladies), the military has had “Gay” members from time one. Those of us who served in WW2, as I did, knew who we were, and the straits knew,also. We did our thing, just as the straits did theirs; In private without outward shows of affection. No one was being “Outed”, or discharged. If they had, they would have lost a lot of very necessary and effective Officers.

    It appears that a lot of the comments are from people who really do not know what they are talking about. Certainly, not from personal experience in the Military.

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