Category Archives: homosexuality

Don't Keep "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


I remember that during the very early days of the Clinton Administration, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was announced. This allowed gays to serve in the military as long as they hid the fact that they were gay. Immediately, I thought this was one of the most stupid things I had ever heard.

The military wants people, presumably of integrity and character, to defend the country, but they wanted some of these people to essentially lie – TO THEM, no less – about who they are? At least the outright ban on gays in the military was honest; wrongheaded, but honest.

It recently came to me what I think is an apt analogy. It is like Negroes – I use the word specifically for the historic context – who could and did pass as white. They got all the benefits of the society that being white meant. At the same time, they always worried, “What if the secret gets out?” They had to make sure to stay away from those darker-skinned cousins who might ruin the ruse, for they feared the consequences of being revealed. It was not just because of their race but because they knew that deceivers receive even harsher punishment.

Likewise, gays in the military who make sure they change the pronouns of their loved ones back home are worried out being found out lest they be forced from their chosen profession. And I can imagine that colleagues being lied to about who their comrades-in-arms are might find that problematic as well.

I heard Tim Kaine, chair of the Democratic National Committee, on one of the talk shows last weekend saying that the Obama administration will be addressing this issue in a positive manner after consulting with the military. I certainly hope this is the case, and soon.

There is a great cartoon here that brings it home on this Memorial Day weekend.

ROG

Roger Answers Your Question, Arthur

Arthur @ AmeriNZ, that blogger and podcaster from New Zealand via Illinois asked:

Oddly enough, recently I bought “This is the Moody Blues” on iTunes (to replace the vinyl copy I had), and this was one of the songs. I still love it.

A question? Well, by way of preface, there’s an Australian talk show host called Rove McManus (the show is called “Rove Live”) who ends every celebrity interview with the same question: “Who would you turn gay for?” The current Prime Minster of New Zealand answered Brad Pitt, though he as asked by some one not quite the stature of Rove.

So, in my best imitation Australian accent, I ask, who would Roger turn gay for?

When I was in high school, I had this conversation among some of my male friends. I suggested one of the guys from our high school swim team. Interestingly, at least three of that group of friends turned out to be gay, though they were in the closet at the time, at least to me.

I suppose if you had asked me 25 years ago, I might have said Tom Selleck. This in spite of the fact that I almost never actually watched Magnum, P.I. In fact, the only time I specifically remember watching the show is when it had a crossover with Murder, She Wrote, a show I’ll admit to watching fairly religiously. Cabot Cove, Maine: highest per capita murder rate in the WORLD. But Selleck’s politics, I’ve discovered are rather right-wing, so not him.

I suppose George Clooney. He’s rich, handsome, talented, and his politics don’t suck. Incidentally, it was never Brad Pitt for me, even in his Thelma and Louise days.
***
No one asked me, but I do have rooting interests on this last weekend of the regular season of the NFL:

The New York (New Jersey) Jets: I’d like them to beat Miami, which COULD go from being the #3 seed to out of the playoffs. So, I’m also rooting for Buffalo to get to 8-8 and beat New England. For good measure I think I want Jacksonville to beat Baltimore, but it ain’t gonna happen.

The Philadelphia Eagles: this for Greg. Not only must the Eagles beat the Cowboys (I ALWAYS root against the Cowboys), but Oakland should beat Tampa Bay AND Houston must beat Chicago. Yeesh.

The Carolina Panthers: my mom, one sister, one niece live in Charlotte. They’ll probably still be in the playoffs, but it’d do them well to beat the Saints.

The San Diego Chargers: the other sister and one niece live in the San Diego area. So if the Chargers beat the Broncos, they’ll be in the playoffs! At 8-8. Yuck.

ROG

1000 Cuts

Have a feeling that we just don’t understand.

On a business librarians listserv I’m on, someone was seeking information about the expenditure of single women – the “Carrie Bradshaw” types. (That’s a reference to the lead character in Sex in the City for you guys who poo-pooed the series’ social significance.) Unbidden came these testimonials of women who went shopping for a new car or other large purchase with their father/husband/boyfriend, made it clear that the woman is the customer, and yet all the customer service people directed their attention to the man. In fact, one of the storyteller was the father, who notes that his daughter is the car nut and all he knows how to do is open the hood and sigh when something’s not working. To a person, the purchase was not made.

There was a Snicker’s ad in the UK that got axed as potentially homophobic. I can only imagine some people crying out, “it’s only an advert,” and that people are being “politically correct” or “don’t have a sense of humor” or “how to you even know thee protagonist is supposed to be gay?” Well, I remember the Snickers Super Bowl ad where they toy with a “Brokeback moment”, so I tend to be suspicious. The ad did bother me, especially the tagline, “get some nuts.”

Disney is working on its first black princess. Imagine my ambivalence about THAT. But the vitriol that shows up in the comments, especially those of the “get over it, it’s only a cartoon” variety, as though images don’t matter I found profoundly disturbing and annoying.

I guess what I wish for is that people try to see things from a perspective that’s not their own.
***
Someone on a Methodist listserv wrote this: “I get so much junk email from so-called ‘friends’ that I am a frequent user of snopes.com and truthorfiction.com. Unfortunately, when I confront these ‘friends’ with what I found out about the emails they have forwarded me, they act as if I have insulted their religion. Which
makes sense, because I have. The emails that they forward have become their religion.
Junk email has replaced whispering as the means of spreading false rumors. It is time for the Church to take a stand against this sort of thing. Sermon anyone?”
***
From my spam e-mail folder: “New reports show men are sex hungry”.
Mingle2 – How Sexually Experienced Are You?21

ROG

More Light

This Sunday is More Light Sunday in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. So what is “more light”? “Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).” But as it’s been the case in other mainline Protestant denominations, there are wide-ranging beliefs within the faith. As one article reads: “Will the religious conflicts about homosexuality be settled by compromise or schism?”

I was, for nearly 20 years, a United Methodist, another denomination having the same internal struggle. The Methodists’ Book of Discipline reads: “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” Yet there are undoubtedly gay UM clergy. Indeed, on the season finale of the (fictional) Brothers & Sisters on May 20, the senator’s brother turns out to be a gay UM minister.

I don’t have a problem with gay clergy, or gay members of session or other boards. What I guess is bugging me is the fact that the denominations have rules of prohibition, yet it is well-known, by me, e.g., that the rules are ignored in some parts of the country. I guess I’d be more comfortable if the written rules of the denominations could be changed to become more inclusive, but based on the divisive nature of the issue, I can’t imagine that happening any time soon.
***
I’ve been fascinated by the fact that my former church, indeed m, my former pastor, has been fighting with the city of Albany over rock concerts in the church basement. Now, the pastor has been suspended by the church hierarchy. While the newspaper says that the suspension is unrelated to the court dispute, a reasonable person could reasonably infer from the story that the suspension really IS about the court case. That inference would be wrong. I’ve talked to some members of the church; I’m positive that the suspension and the court case are unrelated. But since the church hierarchy can’t talk about the situation, based on privacy concerns for the minister, I can’t really fault the paper for not getting it quite right.

ROG