Ding, dong, DADT is dead!

Archive for August, 2010

Don’t Get Me Started On The Survey.

Update: Queer partners, we have a date with the Pentagon on September 16th. I believe that will be the extent of our input on their policies, so don’t miss it.

Don’t even get me started on these Pentagon surveys.

Too late, I’ve already gotten started.    As a queer military partner, I’ve been pissed about this for days.  I have three words for the Pentagon: W.   T.   F.   What is UP with the military surveying straight military spouses on their views about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

In the instructions, it says: “This is your chance to be heard.”

That’s rich. That makes me laugh one of those twisted laughs that isn’t even a laugh, just a noise. Why on godsgreenearth do THEY get a say? Who are they to help decide military law? Who are they gonna survey next, Latvians?

Here are some of the most ridiculous questions from the survey:

Assume DADT is repealed and you live in on-base housing. If a gay or lesbian Service [sic] member lived in your neighborhood with their partner, would you stay on-base or would you try to move out?

Would the repeal of DADT affect your willingness to recommend military service to a family member or close friend?

Really? I had no idea spouses were supposed to be walking advertisements for the military anyway.  Once again, straight people are getting to decide what queer people should and shouldn’t be allowed to do. Since when do they get a say in my rights? Certainly not since the Constitution was ratified! What does their relationship to a soldier have to do with that soldier’s work environment? How are they at all relevant to what’s going on here? Is the Pentagon really gonna collect the data and say, ‘You know, we really wanted to end DADT, but a lot of spouses are are upset about it, so…. it’s a no go’?

How important a factor would a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell be to you in making decisions about your spouse’s future in the military?

IT WOULD BE VERY IMPORTANT!

For REAL, people!

Did it never occur to the Pentagon to ask queer partners to fill out a survey? They could at least say, you know, ‘Hey military homos and partners– we really wanted to get your opinion, but we couldn’t figure out how to do it. Sorry about that.” Even a half-assed explanation like that would be more acceptable than blatantly ignoring us!

It’s ridiculously infuriating to watch all this go down, knowing that whatever decision is made will affect my life and my partner’s life–do you get that, our LIVES–and we have no say.

This survey is a joke, you hear me? A JOKE!

Why is the Pentagon gathering all this information if they’re only gonna twist it the way they want it anyway?

I don’t know what their deal is, but I can tell you this: if December comes and the results of this “study” (and I use that in the loosest sense of the word; it would never pass even the most basic undergraduate class on methodology) don’t look like they should, the Pentagon better watch out. Because I and a lot of other people will have NOTHING TO LOSE.

I was not asked. But by all that’s gay and good, I am going to TELL! They are going to HEAR US!

Making Friends

Captain Awesome and I are both trying to settle into a routine now that we live so far apart. One thing that makes that hard is that neither of us really cotton to people. Most of the time, we prefer each other’s company. Even in the beginning, we spent most of our evenings together nestled up against each other in her living room, me reading a book and her watching The L Word.

Now that we’re apart, we’re trying to remember what we did before we got together. It’s taken some adjusting. It’s not as hard for me—I’m living with five other ridiculously hot women who are interested in music, art, politics, and philosophy, which is a pretty exact listing of my own interests. So when I need to forget the fact that my lady’s setting up a cute new apartment without me in it, I just go downstairs.

I’ve also been making efforts to do a lot of art and writing. Now that I’m alone, I have more time to do that. I’ve also been restraining myself from smoking weed every second. It’s not addictive, but it can become a crutch. (I probably shouldn’t talk about weed, but hey. If you’ve figured out who I am, I’m probably in bigger trouble than possession.)

Captain Awesome is starting to do well herself. She’s been lurking at the single gay bar in the area, and she’s hung out with some of the dykes she met there. She also went on a nature outing with another new captain. And then she texted me yesterday and said: “I saw another gay! He’s an Army [here she listed his job], and he’s buff and very pretty!”

It’s great that there are flamers in the military. I feel like it really highlights the stupidity of the law. When you look at Captain Awesome, the first word that comes to your head is “awesome”. The second is “GAY”.

It just hits home the fact that queer people have been serving in the military since day one.

Mark Your Calendars: DADT Lobby Day

Get out your iphones and Blackberries, ladies and gentlemen. (Or, if you’re me, your little red phone that doesn’t even take pictures.) Go to the calendar, bring up Thursday, September 16th, and add yourself a new appointment with destiny.

That is the day of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell lobby day being organized in Our Nation’s Capital by Servicemembers United. This is what it says on their site about it:

In contrast to our spring lobby day, this event will be much more focused on the nuances of the DADT repeal amendment that is soon to be up for debate on the floor of the Senate. Servicemembers United will be focusing on the quality of participant lobbying visits rather than trying to overwhelm senate offices with quantity. It’s time to get this done. Please join us for The Final Assault” on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”!

Basically, if you’re pissed about DADT and have the money to go to DC, this is a great opportunity. Go to their site and register. They will email you details about schedule and venue in the next few weeks.

If you want to go to but need someplace to stay, comment and get in contact with me. Let’s just say I have some hook-ups.

Also of interest to queer military partners: there’s supposedly going to be a meeting/get-together of military partners at this thing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this will be the first of its kind. I haven’t found out much about it, but I will be there.

McCain won’t even know what hit him.

Who are my friends?

One pain about being a dyke military partner is that neither of you have anyone to talk to (unless you’re ridiculously lucky and have a whole helicopter crew full of dykes like Tasha does in the L Word. Captain Awesome and I definitely thought that was gonna happen. It didn’t).

I figured I would have plenty of people to talk and laugh with, at least compared to Captain Awesome. But I don’t.  I live with a bunch of queer and queer-friendly hippies, right. They know all about gay issues.  But when I talk to them about not asking and not telling, the conversation is less than illuminating for me. They’re always like, “She’s in the MILITARY? Why would she do that?” Ask her.  Or, “Wow.  That must be hard for you two.”  No kidding. Then the conversation turns to how the military works, and what Captain Awesome had to do to get in it (“Yes. She does shoot a gun.”) and how that must conflict with our rad dyke values (“No, she actually doesn’t support shooting brown people.”) and how she’s probably gonna get killed in one of the wars (“Actually no one with her MOS has been killed.”) (“What’s an MOS?”)  and how much it must suck to not ask and not tell. (“Yeah. We’re hoping it’ll end soon.”)

So the conversation ends up being not helpful at all.

Okay, I said, I’ll swallow my pride and go on one of those military girlfriend sites where they complain about stuff all the time. I’m gonna talk about gay stuff and not care. It’s not illegal for ME to talk about it. That crowd is gonna deal with me whether they want me or not. And it’ll be good to talk to people you don’t have to explain the military to. We can get straight to the bullshit.

There were two problems with that:  One, the forum is filled with banal discussions with titles like:

sigh, does he still love me???

that the authors can’t even be bothered to capitalize.

Two, it’s possible that I may have gotten rejected by the site. You have to get approved to be on it, right, and I filled out their stupid bio thing at least a week ago with basically the same bio I have on here. And then their other question is, “Tell us about your man!”  and I replied, “She’s not a man.”

Still no email. Not like I want one after the gross misspellings and malapropisms I saw, but still.  Doesn’t it ever happen to you where somebody you don’t like friends you on Facebook, and you just leave their friend request in your inbox so you won’t actually be rejecting them?  I think that’s what happened here.  And only the site mods know why.  I have my suspicions, though.

So I guess I’m gonna go with my original plan, which is to speak out against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as loudly as I can, and hope that I’m throwing up a flare for other ladies, gentlemen, and everything in between who are in a similar situation. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Hurray! We lost!

Well, the final US combat troops are leaving Iraq as we speak. I’m psyched about that, but I also know that this is just the beginning of the US occupation. I bet in twenty years, little military brats are gonna be growing up in Iraq the same way I grew up in Germany.

I Feel Like Laura Ingalls.

This is more about general annoyance than DADT annoyance, but I’m telling you anyway: I just realized that my girlfriend has been stationed in the middle of freaking NOWHERE.

I found this out while buying tickets to go visit her for Labor Day (you’d think people would be required to labor on Labor Day but they’re not; I actually have a three-day weekend). Basically, it’s impossible to get there except maybe by horse and buggy. It has this ridiculously tiny municipal airport that only receives like four flights a day. Who thinks of that? Why even build an airport?

And then, the airport’s website definitely looks like it was made on WordPress. That’s not a diss on WordPress. I like WordPress fine. But I’M not trying to transport people across the country!

So I ended up having to fly into an airport that’s in a completely different state. Which means Captain Awesome is gonna have to drive for hours to pick me up. As someone who made their first transcontinental flight at six weeks old, I find this ridiculous. It’s not even ridiculous – it’s RICOCKULOUS.

Maybe I’m just too cosmopolitan. Maybe the residents of that state are perfectly fine with having only four flights a day. Maybe I’m the one with the problem.

Also, Captain Awesome just moved into her new residence off post, and found out that one of her housemates is in the Army. Which isn’t surprising, but — not cool! She has a separate entrance to her part of the house, but I’m definitely probably going to have to enter the dwelling by cover of darkness. And loud sex is out of the question. I guess it’s out anyway when you have housemates (not that that stops some of MY housemates), but still.

Admiral Mike is way too hung up on the Pentagon review.

How’s it going, queers and allies. One refreshing thing about this DADT ridiculousness: at least Adm. Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supports repeal.

Adm. Mike Mullen, repeal-supporting chair of the joint Chiefs of Staff

Which is great. My only thing is, he’s just as slow as Obama is about it (and is possibly a major cause of Obama’s slowness in the first place). Also, he’s way too hung up on the forthcoming results of the Pentagon review.

That is a problem. From what we’ve seen so far of their tactics, I really doubt this review is going to have accurate information. Either the Pentagon’s trying hard to get the results they want, or else they’re so uninformed that they actually don’t know how to conduct a review like this– which is a major problem.

Mullen, who openly supports repeal, gave a speech at Ft Lewis (in one of my home states!) yesterday. It had nothing to do with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but somebody asked a question about it at the end. Here’s a pared-down transcript. You can read the whole speech here.

The question: For the small percentage of the military population that’ll benefit from the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy being lifted, what are some of your plans you have to subside potential animosity towards those soldiers and integrating them with the rest of us?

ADM MULLEN: I think my position on this has been pretty clear from testimony in Congress in early February. … It is hard for me to accept that we ask people to come and work, live and die in our military, while we’re asking them at the same time to lie about themselves every single day.
That said, we’re in the middle of the review, which will wrap up December 1st. Many of you – I’ll actually ask for a show of hands contacted to fill out the survey? (Pause.) I would ask you to do that, specifically, because that survey is the first objective data that will inform the leadership about what needs to be done when this change occurs.
I am the senior military officer in the country. I feel responsible to lead this if and when the law changes. And understanding what that means, that isn’t just a given, specifically. And then it would go to a specific of your question, which is how an individual would be treated. My expectation is that this policy’s changing should have nothing to do with how we treat people, period. And we need to treat people with dignity, respect, as you would want to be treated.
I was commissioned in 1968. There has not been a ship or a unit that I’ve been in, whether Navy or Joint, where it wasn’t known that gays and lesbians were serving. So from that, that’s how I approach it.
At the end of this review, we will make a recommendation, obviously, to the President based on the overall review about how to proceed. We won’t proceed until I and the secretary of defense and the president certify that we’re ready to go. From my perspective, it’s the readiness issue; it’s unit cohesion, it’s effectiveness issues, and will this impact that or not – with that as the top priority. And it is the survey and the review that we’re going through right now which will give us a great deal of information with respect to that. So that’s where we are literally as of today.

I like Admiral Mike. He’s a great guy. But my eyebrows go up when he refers to the survey as “objective data”. Does he really think that’s a legitimate survey? If the review concludes based on the survey that “homosexuals” would destroy unit cohesion, is he gonna just go with that and say, Yeah, I think it’s wrong, but the survey has spoken.

What do you think? Do you think he really thinks the survey’s objective? Do you think he should speak out against the language in it? Do you think he’ll continue advocating for repeal even if the review concludes it shouldn’t be implemented?