Dont Ask Dont Tell Policy

Topics: Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality Pages: 5 (1851 words) Published: December 25, 2012
Political Science 103
May 2012
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

With the eradication of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy, how does one benefit even if they have the choice not to expose their sexuality? The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants, while barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service. To avoid being barred or harassed from the military because of sexuality, exposing it wouldn’t be necessary. Others, who are openly homosexual, felt the need to not hide that they are which before prohibited them from joining the military. What the actual benefits of lifting this policy? 'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal lets gays and lesbians serve openly. What if they feel this repeal doesn’t benefit because they are in fact still at risk of being discriminated against. The policy began in 1993, regarding lesbians and gay men in the U.S military. Service personnel would be discharged for homosexual conduct but not simply for being gay. Therefore, military commanders do not ask military personnel about their sexual orientations or begin an investigation only if they engaged homosexual conduct. If a person acknowledges his or her homosexuality publicly, military commander’s thinks that he or she intends to engage in homosexual conduct. The policy was a compromise in which President Bill Clinton sought to repeal the military's ban on gay personnel, and the opponents of that repeal in Congress. The policy failed to meet Clinton's goals of decreasing discharges for homosexuality and reducing harassment of lesbian and gay military personnel. President Obama, who certified the repeal stated, "Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.” The U.S. military spent months preparing for the repeal, updating regulations and training to reflect the changes, and the Pentagon began accepting applications from openly gay men and women. This follows years of debate over the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, also referred to as "DADT." When it was signed by President Clinton in 1993, the policy was hailed by advocates for extending protection to gays and lesbians serving their country. Under the law, commanders were not allowed to ask about someone's sexual orientation, and gays and lesbians were expected to keep their orientation under wraps. As gays and lesbians continued to fight for equal rights in other areas of society, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy grew to become a painful reminder that those in the military still had to hide their sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians who were open about their sexual orientation faced punishment and expulsion. These punishments and expulsion will now stop, and the repeal ends any pending investigations or inquiries. In an article with Times magazine, they conducted an interview with Josh Seerfried, editor of the book “Our Time: Breaking the Silence of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The book speaks on the experiences of both gay and straight service members, detailing how the policy affected their careers and lives. When asked about his decision to remain in the academy even having to serve under the policy, he stated: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” at first almost sounds reasonable — you just don’t talk about this one aspect of your life. But you don’t realize how hard that is until you actually start living the policy. There was not a day that “Don’t ask, don’t tell” didn’t consume you. It’s not only the fact that you think you might get fired in the future. The basic idea of the military is that everyone around you is family and you trust the person next to you. But you immediately lose something about that when you have to lie about yourself. The basic conversations you have are, Are you married? Are you in a relationship? And you have to always lie. When that foundation at the very start is a lie, you lose...

Cited: Barnes, J. (2011). Military gay ban to end in 60 days. doi: Wall Street Journal
Burrelli, D. U.S Congress, Congressional Research Service. (2010). “don’t ask, don’t tell”: The law and military policy on same-sex behavior
Demarest, E. (Editor) (2011). lee reinhart, veteran discharged under 'don 't ask, don 't tell, ' re-enlists in military [Web]. Retrieved from
Gates, Gary J. (2007). Effects of "Don 't Ask, Don 't Tell" on Retention Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Military Personnel. UC Los Angeles: The Williams Institute. Retrieved from:
Moradi, B. (2009). Attitudes of iraq and afghanistan war veterans toward gay and lesbian service members. Armed Forces Society OnlineFirst, doi: 10.1177/0095327X09352960
Seerfried, J. (2011). Our time: Breaking the silence of "don 't ask, don 't tell”. The Penguin Press.
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