The recent vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell changed my and Captain Awesome’s future overnight. At the Senate galleries in Washington DC, gays were jumping up and down and hugging each other all over the place.
We still have to wait for the Pentagon to “certify” that repeal can be successfully implemented, but it’s safe to assume that discharges until then will be minimal, if they happen at all. I mean, there would be no point in discharging someone if you know they can sashay (as one Militaryville writer put it) right back in the door the next month.
As a result, some troops have come out — my lady Captain Awesome among them. It wasn’t a big fanfare. For her, coming out meant that the next time a coworker asked her a personal question, she answered honestly. That was it. The coworker didn’t react at all. There have been no repercussions.
But that’s not the case for everybody. For some, coming out will never be an option because the people in their units are complete HATERS.
For those considering whether or not to come out, I give you this message from my friend Chief, posted on a networking site a few days after repeal:
Message to my military friends about coming out at work: You probably won’t get kicked out, but before implementation of policies, there is nothing saying you can’t be harassed or discriminated against based on your sexual orientation. Therefore leave, awards, and promotions would be at the mercy of your command climate, and would depend on how gay-friendly they were pre-repeal. Please act with caution and careful consideration of the politics involved in HOW you come out.
She hit the nail on the head. Those issues are still gonna be there even when repeal is enacted — because there is no language including sexual orientation (or gender, ut that’s even farther off the map) in the military’s non-discrimination policies.
So you see that coming out, for military queers, is not a simple issue. It’s not like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is repealed and we’re done with this. Coming out could cause you grief. It could impact the rest of your career.
The only thing military queers have to decide is whether that possible grief is bigger than what they’re facing now.