Wednesday, August 8, 2007

An Officer and a Lady :: Letter to Dipstick

Dear Dipstick:

I've thought about your comment the you made to “Bummed in the Barracks.” I have always taken your comments with humor but I was taken back by your comment on why any honorable gay or lesbian would join the military and go fight for a country that denies them basic human rights. Some of us are not lucky enough to have been born in an area that allows us to be open to who we are. Essentially, we have lived in the closet our whole lives. The military is our only way out. They provide us food, clothing, a roof over our heads and an education. These are the examples of basic human rights that the military gives us. They took me in at 18. I had a high school education but I was in a dead end job in a small town in the middle of nowhere. They gave me a technical trade and provided money for me to go to college and earn a degree. Without the military, a significant amount of us would either be in an unwanted marriage (to conform to society) or dead. Of course this has come with the cost of staying in the closet but if I would have stayed at home, I would have to be in the closet. If I would have come out, at home, I am sure I would have come up missing or been the one everyone pointed at and made fun of.

I do have a question for you. On 9-11 did you worry about your safety, but were still able to go to sleep that night? Do you lay awake at night worrying about your safety? Do you enjoy your freedom to write your advice column? Do you enjoy your freedom of being gay when in some countries you would have been hung? Do you know that the military is on guard (all over the world and in the US) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to protect the things that we Americans hold dear? I know this because I would give my life to protect the freedom and liberties that are taken for granted. I will continue to read Curve but I think you owe us an apology.

An officer and a lady

Dear Officer

Thanks for taking the time to write. I sincerely did not mean to hurt any one's feelings by my comment. Thank you for explaining your position.

I understand the freedoms that I enjoy as an American citizen and I do know that many of them are in part due to the U.S. Military. I thank you for your service.

Still, I do hold firm in my belief that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly and freely in the military and that gays and lesbians should be afforded ALL the same rights as other Americans stateside.

I did not mean to put you down, or those who served in the military. I respect you immensely for what you have done. My issue is not with you, but with the system that is so homophobic.

I wish, and maybe you do too, that there was another option for you to escape your small town. I also wish there were another way to bring peace and justice into the world without fighting wars. Call me an idealist, but I do not believe in war as a way to peace. I think if we put as much money and resources into solving international problems in a nonviolent way, we would find a solution that doesn't involve a system that kills innocent people, maims brave soldiers and destroys economies.

I hear what you have to say. That the military probably saved your life. But you can't blame me for wanting more. More for you. More for those soldiers who are fighting an unknown enemy. More for me and my partner who want marriage equality.

Even though I said I don't understand why someone would join the military, really I do. Because sadly, for people like you, that was the only option out. But I also believe that had there been a few more options some of you would have chosen another path.

That's how I feel. I welcome comments from anyone on this topic. Post them below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well stated, Dipstick!
I have people that I love and respect who serve in the Military, many who believe that they are protecting "my freedom".
I also have friends who have been dishonorably discharged for refusing to hide who they are.
A recruiter recently told a student of mine that if he found out that anyone in his unit was gay, that he should beat the crap out of him, and then say that the gay guy was coming on to him! This he said to a kid with a gay sister (and a gay teacher)!
I would guess that the military has to be the MOST dangerous place for a gay person to work! That may not be true for you, Officer - but I have heard too many stories from friends who have served.

And I beg to differ about how we queers have obtained our rights. Gay & lesbian & transgender rights were not won from any military battle, but from the hard front-line work of queer activists who were not afraid to stand up and "ask & tell".

I live in a state where I can marry my same sex sweetie, and I don't have to worry about being fired from my job for being a lesbian. These constitutional rights were given to me through the judicial system, and not a drop of blood was shed !