An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why Heterosexuals Should Not Serve Openly

As more and more straight servicemen and women are outed, an increasing number of fringe straight activists are arguing that straight men and women should be allowed to serve their country openly. While (of course) I believe in everyone's right to live the lifestyle of their choosing ,and not be denied political rights (excluding, of course, to sacred benefits like marriage and adoption), there are important practical reasons that openly straight people cannot be allowed to serve in the military.
The mechanics of deployment specifically make openly straight people detrimental to morale and unit cohesion, and there is no real reason that they cannot continue to serve secretly. To begin with, high morale is one of the key components in a military operation and one of the most difficult to achieve in wars of insurgent violence, where soldiers may feel like they are in constant danger. Openly heterosexual soldiers are damage this precious morale, because most normal service men and women are especially uncomfortable sharing common areas, living quarters, and even showers with them. Owing to a historical tradition in the military, most soldiers are unused to living intimately with heterosexuals and often feel a moral objection to those that chose this life style. Causing discomfort and tension in the few safe areas our soldiers have is last thing we need to improve slipping morale.
Heterosexuals sexual practices also damage unit cohesion because when inevitable sexual and romantic relationships develop among them, they often lack experience remaining in close contact with past partners. Most normal soldiers are accustomed to communities in which they are frequently forced to remain friends with (or at least civil with) exes because of they often share core friendship groups, play on the same sports teams, sing/act in the same productions, or participate in the same activities. Most soldiers are accustomed to having friends date or hook up with exes and are much more comfortable continuing to be in close contact with, work with, and even live with ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends. Straight soldiers lack this experience, because straight culture allows much more commonly for couples to become distant after a break up, returning to distinct friendship groups that rarely overlap because they are gender segregated. Thus straight people in the military would inevitably cause a breakdown in unit cohesion, and current and former partners lack the framework for continuing to be in close contact. Fighting and inability to work together is damaging to the functionality of the unit and ultimately its performance on the street.
In light of these key issues, there is no real need for straight soldiers to be permitted to serve openly. Currently, heterosexuals are still allowed to serve if they keep their orientation secret. This prohibition removes the discomfort regular soldiers might feel knowing a heterosexual was in their midst and reduces the problems that come from heterosexual in-service dating. Realistically, keeping quiet about their sexuality is a small price to ask in return for being able to serve our country along with their more mainstream peers and asks merely that heterosexual soldiers lie to their comrades about their past, attractions, current relationship situation, and an important part of their identity. Overall, the benefits of restricting openly heterosexual service members outweigh the small cost, and is clearly better for our military and our country as a whole. For the good of our men and women in uniform, straight servicepeople must simply be forced to keep quiet about their sexuality.
(nb. If this were not obvious, this is a satire. I do not actually think that heterosexuals should be barred from the military, I'm simply critiquing DADT)

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

Your post reminded me of this wonderful sitcom episode. which is totally worth the quick break from finals studying for everyone else still working.

first ten minutes - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BQUYa4NiA8

second ten minutes - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiH-APCnxPo&feature=related