`Don't ask, don't tell' is unfair

`Don't ask, don't tell' is unfair

(Published 5 Dec 2001 in the BDH as "Don't ask, don't tell policy holds gay military personnel to unfair standard")

Early in his column (``Brown should create a new, improved ROTC chapter'', 4 Dec), Mr Mahaney-Walter states that 'the current policy of "don't ask, don't tell" is immoral', a sentiment with which I agree.

But his last paragraph gives away the game: 'The brave people who serve with their sexual orientations kept secret are the wise ones.... They have learned well the self-control the military teaches.' These statements are in total support of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and are ridiculous. "Self-control"? While I don't expect gay soldiers to be hitting on the other members of their unit, it is unreasonable to expect them not to have a social life, not to have (or at least, not to talk about) a boyfriend back home; and most importantly, it is unreasonable to expect them to have to constantly fear that if they accidentally mention something they've done, they could be kicked out of the program. This is a level of self-control far above and beyond what is taught by the military for its non-gay members, and is hurtful and harmful to those on whom it is imposed.

I, too, commend the people who have the supreme strength of will to be gay and in the military; but I'd like to think that it's possible for straight people in the leadership to eventually be sufficiently open-minded to abolish this form of discrimination. I particularly dislike Mr Mahaney-Walter's implication that bottling up one's sexuality is the only or even the best course for most people. And I support the University's continued exclusion of ROTC, for this and many other reasons. ROTC does not belong at Brown.

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Don Blaheta / web@blahedo.org

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