Sunday, June 22, 2008

Women hurt by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.
While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.
By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army's discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

That's from Thom Shanker's "'Don't Ask, Don;t Tell' Hits Women Much More" (New York Times) and C.I. passed that on thinking I might want to use it tomorrow. I'll probably curse myself for not waiting (because tomorrow I'll probably be scrambling to find something to write about) but I want to go ahead and highlight it tonight.

I'm too tired to write much but I think the highlight says it all and, if it doesn't, use the link and read all of Shanker's piece. June is Gay Pride Month and, yes, the above is a frightening story. I should probably also point out that the ones kicked out aren't necessarily lesbians. Or even bi-sexual. It can be a straight woman just as easily. All it takes is some whispers. Which is why straight people should be against sexual closets as much as the LGBT community (or the parts of the LGBT community that have pride in themselves).

No one should be discharged for their sexuality but, think about it, it's probably worse for a straight woman to have to explain, "I was discharged because they thought I was gay." I would hope that, even in her pain, she could laugh about it. But I can't imagine how that might feel. Talk about wrongful firing.

Obviously, as an out lesbian, I don't believe in closets and don't support any policy that shoves someone in a closet. But if you do, think about if you were serving, wrongly assumed to be gay and discharged for it. How do you explain that the rest of your life?

Okay, I worked with Third this weekend. It was the summer read edition and a lot of fun but I am so exahusted. Here's what we came up with. Truest, Jim's note, the editorial, Ava and C.I.'s TV article, the Nader piece and Highlights are the real pieces. We also offer five pieces of fiction for the summer read:

Truest statement of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: What's your acceptance level?
TV: Breaking what?
New York Times, Early Edition
The non-whistle blower
Bee-bees and cockle bugs

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