Essay on Don't Ask Don't Tell

Submitted By Maxence23
Words: 2098
Pages: 9

PLSC Term Paper – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

When I hear about all these laws restricting homosexuals to live their lives like anybody else, I always ask myself: is it right to prohibit someone to disclose his sexual orientation? Being straight, I can but only imagine how these men and women feel. Someone’s sexual orientation makes who this person is, his identity. The gay and lesbian soldiers serve their country just like every other soldier; I do not understand what problems would arise from giving the liberty of speaking out loud to these people. In my life I would like to fight inequalities around the world, and laws such as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell constitute inequality.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is an American policy put in place on December 21, 1993 by President Bill Clinton. He created it in order to allow every man and woman to fight for his or her country, no matter her sexual orientation. It also gave these men and women protection from any kind of harassment or discrimination, in one condition. That they never talked about their sexual orientation. This was actually the politically correct explanation of this policy. The real goal was actually to lighten a bit the ban against homosexuality planning to join the Army. It has been called the 1993 compromise on numerous occasions. They call it “discretion”: the Army recruiters will not ask about your orientation and as long as you do not talk about it, you cannot get punished for it. In other words, you were required to hide your true identity, or risk being discharged. It has also been seen as some sort of agreement between men in an organization in order to keep the well-being amongst them. It actually turned out to be the only law in the United States that allows to fire men and women due to their sexuality. If soldiers were to do anything corresponding to a homosexual behavior, they were to be punished because such behaviors would “create an unacceptable risk against the high moral standards: order, discipline, and cohesion that form the essence of military capabilities.” This condemns any homosexual and bisexual behaviors, as well as talks on marriages and same-sex parenting for the duration of the individuals’ commitment to the Army. The “Don’t Ask” part means that the superiors cannot begin any investigations as long as they did not witness any prohibited attitudes, although there has been some cases, too many unfortunately, were suspicions concerning some soldiers sexuality has led to investigations and discharged. According to Service member’s Legal Defense Network, since the start of this policy in 1993, over 12.5 thousand American soldiers have had to quit the United States Armed Forces. The Washington Post bases its information on Pentagon data, and says that there was on average one thousand service members per year discharged from 1997 to 2001. They say that that average has slowed down to 730 discharged per year.

Throughout the history of the United States’ military, like in many other countries as well, homosexuality has always been looked down upon. We can find traces of this discrimination from the foundation of the United States of America. Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Ensin had been discharged from the Continental Army on March 11, 1778 for homosexual behavior, following a court-martial. The irony in this according to historians is that that same Continental Army’s training regimen founder had been accused of the same “crimes”. There has not been nothing notable happening on the matter during both eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I will now concentrate on events taking place during the infamous World War II. Starting 1949, new laws against homosexuality are starting to appear. Before that, service members would be court-martialed and then dishonorably discharged. Some psychiatrists believed homosexuals should not be inducted. This is what the law and the United States Department of Defense established in 1949: "Homosexual personnel, irrespective of…