Gays in high school and the DADT policy

This isn’t really meant to be a thread debating the legitimacy of gays in the military, or even of the general legitimacy of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But I’m wondering about its continued viability.

The DADT policy was invented and implemented in a context where most gay people didn’t come out of the closet until at least their late teens or early twenties; this essentially made it a “stay in the closet” policy. Setting aside arguments of fairness, reasonability, etc, it more or less ‘works’ for such people.

The problem is, people are coming out earlier and earlier these days. When I was in high school, from 1989-1993, there were exactly ->zero<- people who where publically out, though I’ve since found out about a number who were already aware of their homosexuality (or bisexuality, or TGism). But I’m in touch with my high school, and there is now a reasonably active (if unofficial) GLBT club, and there are dozens of students who are to some extent out, in a school population of about 700. My sister, who just graduated high school last May, has several friends who are gay and knows of a bunch of others.

This is going to make the DADT policy a lot less effective.

Even if a gay person enlisted and had every intention of Not Telling, what if they run into someone who knew them in high school? What about, down the line, if they ever reactivated the draft? Presumably “I’m gay” would not be a legitimate way to draft dodge (possibly carrying a penalty!), but again, what if you had been out for years already and ran into someone you knew?

While there’s still a ways to go, I’m actually pretty impressed with how much has changed just in one decade in terms of acceptance of homosexuals in schools. And this ramification just popped into my head (as I was reading the TG thread, but I didn’t want to hijack ;).

Regardless of someone who knew you as a gay student, the military still can’t ask you if you are. So if you don’t tell, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else says. At least, that’s my take on it. Things sure have changed.

Doesn’t it count as “telling” for the purpose of the military if you tell anyone anywhere and the military gets wind of it? I didn’t think the application of the rules was restricted to statements made to military personnel, and a statement made in another context could be used against you without violating the policy.

And doesn’t the military look at your resume, or some kind of record of past activities? What if they saw “Co-chair: GBLT club” listed?

Well, anyone can be part of a GBLT club…not just GLBTs. I mean, there is a support aspect to those clubs, isn’t there?

KellyM, you may be right about that, but would heresay or second-hand information hold up? Now, I’m no fan of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but I thought it was set up to protect people from what other people say. The military would have to ask you if it was true, and they’re not allowed to (I think). And you aren’t obliged to answer if anyone does ask you, right? Does anyone know the straight dope on this?

(From; the foregoing material is federal work product and is free of copyright).

It seems that hearsay is admissible if the hearsay declarant is “reliable”, and I see no requirement that the statement be made contemporaneous with the term of service.

So, as I read this regulation, being a member of a GLBT group is probably not enough for an investigation, but a statement by the servicemember himself or herself would be without regard to when that statement was made. Note also that the burden of proof is on the servicemember to prove that he or she is NOT gay.

It seems to me that anyone who openly outs themselves before entering the service is not protected by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.




It’s not the same as having known someone in high school, but there is the case of former Arizona state legislator Steve May, who was removed from the military for statements made in the state legislature regarding his homosexuality. Briefly,

It sounds to me that the policy is more like don’t ask, don’t tell, and don’t ever mention it.

Well its good to know I’m up shit creek without any sort of paddle-shaped device should I ever try to enlist for some hare-brained reason (not a slam of service members. I just couldn’t go for that myself). I believe I’m quoted in several places, which probably burns all my bridges.

As for a draft… the military has always been willing to draft gays so long as they’re definitely going to be shot at. During times of military crisis, such as World War II, many even served very openly. Thats at least part of what gave rise to the gay rights movement: gay people realizing, for once in their lives, that they could in fact be out and open, and that they were not alone.

Should a draft ever occur, DADT will effectively, if not officially, go the way of the dodo… during the duration of the conflict. I doubt, however, that they’ll be able to even stop-gap us again if that ever happens. Every inch the high ups in the chain of command give is one that will not be returned.

An interesting side note:

One of the arguements against allowing gay and lesbians to serve openly is the claim that it would hurt unit cohesion. But is that a true claim?

Texas A&M University, while no longer a military academy, retains one of the most military-style ROTC programs available in its Corps of Cadets. The Corps lives together in cadet units, holds daily formations, marches to meals, conducts marching drills and physical training, and participates in other military-style activities. For all intents and purposes, the Corps of Cadets is a mini-academy within the University.

In 2000, Noel Freeman became the first Out Cadet member. He was hounded out of the Corps by a few outspoken fellow Cadets. In September 2001, he went to the Commandant, Maj. Gen. Ted Hopgood, a retired two-star general and 31-year veteran of the Marines. He asked Hopgood to be allowed to rejoin the Corps.

“[M]y whole approach as a leader is that you have to be open to all kinds of situations. I believe grappling with [the fact that Freeman is openly gay] will make the others better leaders,” Hopgood told The Advocate in an interview. In addition, he says, his job as commandant was “to convey a positive attitude toward Noel and to encourage the cadets to keep an open mind. I think it set the stage.”

Apparently Hopgood is right.

Noel is now a Senior at Texas A&M and serves as the Executive Officer for his Squadron, although he was discharged from the Air Force ROTC program and lost the scholarship he had been given after four-years of active duty in the Air Force. His unit is every bit as cohesive as any other in the Corps.

Well, that’s just fucked up, Homebrew. Fucking hypocrites.

Homebrew, you wouldn’t happen to have a link for that? I’d love to add that to my list of resources regarding gays in the military.

Noel has started a scholarship for Gay Cadets (actually you don’t have to Out to apply).

His story is as first appeared in The Advocate here.

Reading stuff like this gives me such hope for the future. It’s with small steps like this that policies start to change: all the people in that Corps right now will continue their military careers knowing that homosexuals don’t screw up unit cohesion, etc, etc, and as officers they’ll maybe help to keep their units at least from exhibiting homophobia.

But now I’m contributing to the (foreseen) hijack of my own thread. Here’s a thought that’s not a hijack: the DADT policy will also cease to be viable as soon as women are fully integrated into the service, no?

I really like to know what the deal that the military has against homosexuals serving. I knew a gay man who was true blue Semper Fi, smoked cigars and still had his haircut. He was (and still is) a fine individual.

To join any branch of the military one should be in good health and not crazy. The person must take orders no matter how dumb they might be. The military’s mission is to kill people and break things. Gays can do this as well as straights. Of course, if someone is involved in sexual misconduct, they should be dismissed. The military needs to stay out of people’s bedrooms!

To gay activists, personally I could care less what you do behind closed doors. Why have a gay club at school? School is a place for education, not a meeting and discussion group for sexual activity, politics or religion.


Going back to the OP, does the trend of earlier public disclosure threaten the viability of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? It depends on what “viable” means. If by “viable” you mean “enabling gay and lesbian individuals to serve freely in the military”, the answer is no. But that regulation was never intended to do that anyway. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was never intended to make it easy for gays to serve. It has never been a viable policy, only a politically expedient one.

I don’t understand what you’re saying in respect to the integration of women, either, blahedo. Can you perhaps explain?

Shep Proudfoot said, “To gay activists, personally I could care less what you do behind closed doors. Why have a gay club at school? School is a place for education, not a meeting and discussion group for sexual activity, politics or religion.”

Education comes in many forms. Diversity education is at LEAST as important as readin’, writin’, and 'rithmetic. School has a wide variety of extra-curricular activities such as chess, newspaper, sports, dance, theater, etc. All of them are educational.

Certainly true, but I’m wondering if even its political expedience may drift away. In asking whether it would remain ‘viable’ I was trying to figure out whether the charade would remain manageable. When the policy was instituted, gays were still drummed out of the military, but pols could point and say “ah, but he Told”. I foresee more cases where someone performs no homosexual act while enlisted, and still gets fingered as having been out of the closet before joining up.

One of the big arguments against gays is predicated on the idea that straight members of a unit might feel that the gay member(s) might be attracted to them, and that this would make them uncomfortable or whatever. On a more abstract level, in a unit that is 100% straight and 100% male, there’s no sexual tension. Adding either gays or women to the mix introduces the possibility (the inevitability, really), hence if either gets officially integrated in the service, a number of arguments against the other joining come crashing down.

Well, the “sexual tension” argument is pretextual; that’s not why they want to ban gays from service. No, they want to ban gays from service because we’re Ikky. And as long as the majority party agrees with that position, it will be politically expedient to ban gays from service even if the pretextual reasons for doing so cease to make sense.