It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. military repealed its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which had many service men and woman feeling like they were living separate, almost secret lives.
Though the fear that coming-out in the military may cost you your service career has subsided, many service members say that they still fear discrimination and harassment-this time, from their fellow soldiers.
Many service members, both gay and straight, point out that ending the legal barriers has hardly erased the cultural ones. Even Pentagon officials have stated that they would have been fooling themselves to think that there would be no incidents.
Incidences such as this past Labor Day in which four Marines allegedly beat a young film student while shouting antigay slurs, or an April incident in which a female officer was shoved after she was asked by another officer to stop dancing with her girlfriend. Even in the wake of recent incidences, many military officials still feel that the army has moved past the discomfort of gays in the military.
According to a general who worked in the protocol office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the message is clear throughout every branch of the armed forces-any form of discrimination, hate crime, hazing, bullying, sexual assault, etc., will not be tolerated.
Though there seem to still be mixed emotions to the effectiveness of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, many service members still prefer to keep their sexual orientation a secret just to be safe. They point out though that their silence can neither be taken as a sign of approval nor a sign of success.
Source: NDTV.com, “A year later, military says gay policy is working,” Elisabeth Bumiller, Sept. 20, 2012