DADT deserves a fair assesment before discarding it

Dave Thomas
No rational argument against allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the US military would dare suggest that they are not as smart, strong, capable and patriotic as their heterosexual peers, however many arguments in favor of repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy seem to use this as their only supporting point.  Arguments in support of its repeal must acknowledge and address the many specific impacts repealing DADT will have on the military.  The policy was implemented, and survived, for a variety of reasons more rooted in pragmatism than intolerance; any suggestion other than leaving the policy as-is must address the following:

1.  Today, thanks to the DADT policy, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are never required to be naked or without adequate privacy in the presence of superiors, subordinates or peers that they know to be attracted to members of their sex.  DADT preserves the dignity of everyone who does not want to share these intimate settings with people they know are attracted to their sex.  As an analogy:  imagine a male supervisor announcing he will begin to shower with females of his office.  There would be no way to preserve the dignity or privacy of either the men or the women.  The military will be no different if a superior, after revealing that he or she is a homosexual, expects to continue to shower with his or her subordinates without humiliating at least some of them.  Don't we servicemen and woman deserve the right to object to being forced to shower in the presence of people we know are attracted to members of our sex?  DADT prevents this situation.

2.  Servicemen and women are often required to share living quarters, (much like college dormitories), however we generally don't get to pick their roommate.  Will a sailor who was assigned a homosexual roommate be justified in insisting on another?  Would you want your son to be forced to share a bedroom with someone he knew was homosexual if he didn't want to?  Will knowing that he may be required to impact his decision to enlist?  DADT removes the chance of him being put in this position.

3.  Servicemen and women often cannot choose which doctor will perform their physical exams; males are assigned a male doctor, females a female doctor.  If an airman knew that his or her doctor was a homosexual would he or she be allowed to ask to be assigned another doctor?  Would a man be justified in objecting to being forced to receive a hernia screening or a prostate exam from a doctor he knew was gay?  Would a woman's objection about being assigned a doctor she knew was a lesbian to perform her gynecological exam be any less reasonable than her objection to being assigned a man?  With DADT in place none of these examples occur.  

The DADT policy preserves personal dignity by preventing unwanted physical exposure to individuals known to be attracted to one's own sex; this is why it works.  An outright repeal of DADT will be the largest human relations experiment every attempted, and it will be mandatory and irreversible, and may cause tremendous harm. 

Statistics suggest that in the past decade 10,000 or more homosexuals have been involuntarily discharged.  If service in the US military includes requiring individuals to submit to the above situations, it may cause a much larger number to choose not to join in the next decade and cause yet unknown hardships for those of us who already serve.

No rational argument against allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the US military would dare suggest that they are not as smart, strong, capable and patriotic as their heterosexual peers, however many arguments in favor of repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy seem to use this as their only supporting point.  Arguments in support of its repeal must acknowledge and address the many specific impacts repealing DADT will have on the military.  The policy was implemented, and survived, for a variety of reasons more rooted in pragmatism than intolerance; any suggestion other than leaving the policy as-is must address the following:

1.  Today, thanks to the DADT policy, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are never required to be naked or without adequate privacy in the presence of superiors, subordinates or peers that they know to be attracted to members of their sex.  DADT preserves the dignity of everyone who does not want to share these intimate settings with people they know are attracted to their sex.  As an analogy:  imagine a male supervisor announcing he will begin to shower with females of his office.  There would be no way to preserve the dignity or privacy of either the men or the women.  The military will be no different if a superior, after revealing that he or she is a homosexual, expects to continue to shower with his or her subordinates without humiliating at least some of them.  Don't we servicemen and woman deserve the right to object to being forced to shower in the presence of people we know are attracted to members of our sex?  DADT prevents this situation.

2.  Servicemen and women are often required to share living quarters, (much like college dormitories), however we generally don't get to pick their roommate.  Will a sailor who was assigned a homosexual roommate be justified in insisting on another?  Would you want your son to be forced to share a bedroom with someone he knew was homosexual if he didn't want to?  Will knowing that he may be required to impact his decision to enlist?  DADT removes the chance of him being put in this position.

3.  Servicemen and women often cannot choose which doctor will perform their physical exams; males are assigned a male doctor, females a female doctor.  If an airman knew that his or her doctor was a homosexual would he or she be allowed to ask to be assigned another doctor?  Would a man be justified in objecting to being forced to receive a hernia screening or a prostate exam from a doctor he knew was gay?  Would a woman's objection about being assigned a doctor she knew was a lesbian to perform her gynecological exam be any less reasonable than her objection to being assigned a man?  With DADT in place none of these examples occur.  

The DADT policy preserves personal dignity by preventing unwanted physical exposure to individuals known to be attracted to one's own sex; this is why it works.  An outright repeal of DADT will be the largest human relations experiment every attempted, and it will be mandatory and irreversible, and may cause tremendous harm. 

Statistics suggest that in the past decade 10,000 or more homosexuals have been involuntarily discharged.  If service in the US military includes requiring individuals to submit to the above situations, it may cause a much larger number to choose not to join in the next decade and cause yet unknown hardships for those of us who already serve.