The year is 2020, although the nation’s hindsight is far from it. Our military prohibits the separation of males and females in barracks, latrines, etc. in order to promote sexual equality, yet a young woman is suing the United States Army for the right to sleep, shower, and dress in the presence of only other females. She alleges that men stare at her or make sexual comments or just get too close to her while undressed. She claims that she feels uncomfortable going through personal routines around men, but the court orders her to deal with it or request a discharge. The judge adds that she is being overly sensitive, and that – although the men may be staring, staring alone is not harmful. “Contrary to your belief,” he chides, “not every man who sees you naked wants to have sex with you.”
Readers are likely having trouble processing the judge’s ruling because they are still in shock over the scenario itself. Women are shuddering in horror while men (the decent ones, anyhow) are desperately struggling against the euphoric rush that comes from picturing naked women. Hopefully, all sensible people eventually reach the same conclusion on the story above: “what the crap?” Rational thought and a basic understanding of human nature tell us that both women and men have legitimate concerns over being exposed around members of the opposite sex. Most men initially think otherwise, but that is because they’ve still got ‘boobies’ on the brain; once they realize that said female could be their sister, or their daughter, or their wife…men are you with us? The female plaintiff may not have been raped or even touched by any of her male peers, but physical contact is not necessary for sexual intimidation. Regardless of what the male soldiers are thinking when they see their female counterparts unclothed, the females are justified in their unease. After all, the most honorable gentleman in the world, if forced to observe a young woman showering, will at the very (very) least, become terribly distracted. Now, the men are really with us.
So what’s the point? The current “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” (“DADT”) controversy seems to once again highlight the giant rift between those who approve of and those who oppose homosexuality itself. However, the factors in the pro/against debate are different from those in the military quandary. Right or wrong, homosexuals – by definition – are attracted to the same gender as their own and while like heterosexuals, they are not attracted to every member of their own sex, the ultimate effect is the same. The young woman above was uncomfortable in intimate situations with those who quite possibly were attracted to her sexually. Gay advocates are guilt-tripping the public with claims that DADT somehow prevents homosexuals from “being who they are.” Gag me. If that means a prohibition of sexual advances toward fellow soldiers of either sex, then they are 100% correct. “Who they are” and “what they do” are totally separate matters, and that’s a concept gays and straights alike need to fully comprehend. Proponents continuously site “prejudice” and “discrimination” as the reasons DADT exists, but they conveniently overlook the natural, human response to any unwanted sexual attraction, the genetics of such attraction being irrelevant.
To favor DADT does not make one a homophobe any more than the female plaintiff was a “heterophobe” for seeking to avoid possible sexual interaction where it was unwelcome and inappropriate. None of the usual gay/straight arguments are applicable, but only a firm grasp of human behavior and a good dose of common sense. Being gay is perfectly legal in the civilian world, but so is being fat, unkempt and dating your co-worker – all of which are military no-no’s. If “who you are” is overweight and undergroomed, then you’re free to be that way…just someplace other than the armed services. Out-of-the-closet homosexuality falls into that category as well. The military environment deserves to be freed of as many hindrances and disruptions as possible, and the male/female dynamic is no more unnerving than the male/male dynamic when openly-gay men are in the mix. It is the job of federal legislation to protect servicemen and women from every known and preventable distraction the government is capable of eliminating. So unless you would side with the judge in 2020, you should reconsider your opinion on DADT in 2010.