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Pros & Cons of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy

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The “don’t ask don’t tell” or DADT policy was in force between 1993 and 2011, and was designed to stop openly gay individuals from joining the US military. It was possible for individuals to be gay and join the army, but they couldn’t talk about their sexuality; nor could they be asked whether they were gay or not without valid reason. In the end, the policy was repealed, because it was seen as infringing on people’s civil rights. There were still those who believed that the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy should remain in place, mainly because of their own attitudes towards homosexuality.

Pros of don’t ask and don’t tell

For those who supported the “don’t ask don’t tell policy”, allowing individuals to be openly gay in the army would in some ways weaken the army and seem to condone that homosexuality was acceptable. People from traditionally military backgrounds generally perceive the armed forces to contain the most masculine men, and for some reason, being gay doesn’t seem to fit in with this notion. Many people have caricatured ideas of what it is to be gay and imagine that every gay man has many feminine attributes which are not appropriate for members of the armed services.

Embracing the truth

However, just because these individuals were, and perhaps still are, convinced that gay men, in particular are weaker and more feminine than straight men, this doesn’t change the fact that there were gay people who served before the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”. The only difference is that, now individuals can be open about their sexual preference. This doesn’t mean that they’re going to flirt and try to chat up straight men, as many supporters of the policy tried to argue, but it does mean they don’t have to live a lie. This must be reassuring for armed personnel, because they don’t have to worry constantly that they could say something that will get them fired.

Equality for all, regardless of your sexuality

Yet, it could be argued that when the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy was enforced, there was less to worry about for gay soldiers. Once a gay solider comes out, there is a danger he could be picked on or discriminated because of his sexuality. Even if there are laws in place to punish bullies, sometimes it is difficult for victims to pluck up the courage to say something, especially when the army is such a regimented environment and people tend to stick together. If there is more than one bully at work, an individual can really struggle to fend off the derogatory remarks, and bullying could affect their self-esteem and overall mental health.

Army’s job is to fight for freedom, including for gays

There may have been a few benefits associated with the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, but it was obviously repealed for a reason. It was unfair and discriminatory against gay soldiers, something which should be unacceptable in a society whose army is fighting to help other people secure the freedom to live their lives without fear.

Homosexual related issues: Same-sex marriages.