Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do Ask, Do Tell

I, for one, am glad that the Senate voted to repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' today, allowing gays to serve openly in the military. The argument that many are making in favor of the repeal is that anyone willing to serve, and potentially die for our country deserves the dignity and respect of everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, and should be allowed to serve openly as a gay man or woman. I agree with this logic, but I hope that this act is only the first step in a long line of measures that grant homosexuals more equality in this country.

We live in a world where people have been marginalized and discriminated against to the point of extermination. While many seem to think that we are in some post-modern wonderland where prejudice is a faint memory that only rears its head when a new film about the Holocaust is made, I say that we need to reexamine why something like 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' took so long to repeal. Anytime something like this comes up for debate, people who are afraid of what change might bring forget about the effect it has on the group being discriminated against. Many have trouble thinking about what it would be like if they had to deny who they are, and keep it a secret for fear of what might happen if others found out.

As a straight, white, well educated male I am never asked to not be who I am, or given a back seat because of my race, sex or orientation, but I know those who are. Everyone does, whether they want to admit it or not, and I cannot say what something like this act by Congress does for a group of people who yearn to be treated like everyone else. I see this as a good step in the right direction, but I hope that those in power will not be content with this one act. There is still work to be done.

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