The Process of Adjustment in Communication and the Effect on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

Topics: Homosexuality, Communication, LGBT Pages: 6 (1690 words) Published: May 22, 2011
The Process of Adjustment in Communication and
the Effect on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

Communication is regarded as a continuous process of adjustment. This process can be explained by looking at the recent repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. This policy restricts the equal rights of homosexuals which has been a topic in heated debate for many years. Over the course of United States history, there have been numerous attempts at equalizing the rights among homosexuals, especially those in the military. As history progressed, the amount of attempts for equality had increased. A final ruling from a judge in 2010 ordered the military to change its policy on homosexual applicants, and allowed them to join. The principle that interpersonal communication is a process of adjustment, shows that individuals and groups must adjust their communication methods towards those of the individuals they are communicating with. The recent repeal of the D.A.D.T. policy is an excellent example of this interpersonal communication principle.

Interpersonal Communication Is a Process of Adjustment

Joseph A. Devito states that interpersonal communication is a process of adjustment. The concept behind this principle is that in order for interpersonal communication to take place, the people that are involved must share the same communication system. To easily understand this, an individual who speaks American Sign Language, will have a difficult time communicating with someone who speaks German. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication, which can vary across different cultures.

In order for interpersonal communication to function correctly the individuals who are involved in the communication must adjust their methods of communication accordingly. Because of the continuous process of adjustment, the individuals must learn new techniques and ways of communicating so that their communication methods best match the communication methods of all individuals involved in the conversation. This includes learning and becoming accustomed to changing values and beliefs that develop within a culture as well.

By learning new values and beliefs, individuals who are within a specific culture, can understand and adjust their communication to match those individuals within their culture who embrace those changing values and beliefs. This allows individuals to communicate effectively in any situation. A theory surrounding this is the Communication Accommodation Theory. This theory states that speakers will adjust their communication methods to gain approval from the audience. This explains that learning the values, beliefs, and norms of a specific audience will gain approval and acceptance among the crowd.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Military Policy

In 1993, Bill Clinton introduced a compromise measure that followed his campaign to allow all United States citizens to join the military. This compromise measure allowed gay and lesbian citizens to join the military without issue. Previous laws and policies regarding the ban on gay and lesbians stemmed from a particular discharge from the military in 1778.

Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin was the first man to be discharged for sodomy in 1778. The next major action taken by the military was during World War II. During this time, the military began to add psychiatric screening to its induction process. At the time, homosexuality was regarded as a psychiatric illness, and all members who were found to be gay or lesbian within the military, were sent to a psychiatric hospital and discharged. This led to a system of denying all gay and lesbian applicants. Fast forwarding to the early 1970’s, the gay and lesbian rights movement emerged. They began targeting the military for their several anti-gay policies. In response, the military issued a policy in 1982 that stated that homosexuals were found to be incompatible with military...
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