Because Our Bigotry is More Important Than Your Safety

It's the oldest argument in the book. We can't have gay soldiers in the military, because someone might get a little uncomfortable in the shower:
Back in September, The Daily Show’s Jason Jones sat down with Paul Cameron, one of the nation’s leading anti-gay activists, to ask about a defense for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Specifically, Jones asked about Bleu Copas, a decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist who joined the Army after the 9/11 attacks, but was thrown out for being gay, despite his role in helping translate intercepted messages from possible terrorists.

Cameron said, “I think the country, on the aggregate, is safer without Bleu in the military.” Asked why, Cameron explained, “Guys don’t want to think about other guys, other fellas, ogling them in the shower or whatever.” Jones responded, “I know I’d rather die in a terrorist attack than suffer through an uncomfortable shower with a gay.” Cameron grudgingly responded, "Yes."
Christ, how paranoid can you get? I've always wondered about this whole "shower" thing, anyway... are soldiers really taking that many showers together? In big group stalls, I mean. It just seems really high school locker room to me. Anyway, more on that later.

Well, someone finally decided that in order to find out what soldiers really think about this topic, they should, you know, ask the soldiers, rather than taking the word of Conservative blowhards as gospel. And guess what, friends and neighbors?
As it turns out, a new Zogby poll shows that men and women in uniform disagree.
A new poll reveals that 73% of military members say they are comfortable around lesbians and gays. And 23% say they know an active duty soldier in their unit who is lesbian or gay…. More than half — 55% — of the troops who know a gay peer said the presence of gays or lesbians in their unit is well known by others. […]

“Those who defend the law have argued that openly gay personnel harm military readiness. This research highlights the absurdity of such a hypothesis,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Only 5% of troops said they are “very uncomfortable” around gays.
So can we finally drop this ridiculous "dont' ask, don't tell" policy? In these times, when we're so desperate for skilled, qualified military personnel, expelling them from the ranks simply because of their sexual orientation is absurd. Especially Arabic translators.

I also love how this "it'll ruin troop morale" argument is dependent on soldiers being as homophobic as the blabbermouths pushing it. They couldn't possibly fathom a group of men in the military that know about a gay man (or men) in their unit that actually *gasp* like the guy. Oh no, hetero and homo soldiers couldn't possibly be friends. And it's inconceivable that a straight soldier might not care if a gay guy sees his bait & tackle in the shower.

You mean every man in the military isn't a rabid homophobe? I'm shocked! Shocked!

Oh, and about teh SHOWER omg! :
And what about showers?

Zogby covered that one, too.

Prominent supporters of “don’t ask, don’t tell” have expressed concerns about privacy in the shower, [Dr. Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center, who has written widely on the subject] said, but nearly three out of four troops said in the Zogby poll that they usually or almost always take showers privately – only 8% say they usually or almost always take showers in group stalls.
See? I thought the whole thing sounded ridiculous. The homo haters make the military sound like one, big, long, group shower. Which would be hawt. Erm, I mean, bad for America!

In these times, expelling someone willing to serve their country because of their sexual orientation is not only bigoted, it's poor military strategy. Your soldiers are not the bigots you imagine them to be. Stop treating them as such. They need all the help they can get.

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