Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When Fiction Comes To Life

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is a well known phrase these days and very popular in the news lately. It was a military policy implemented in 1993 under President Clinton. While nearly 80% of all Americans today are in favor of repealing DADT, it was actually seen as a major breakthrough in gay rights when it was first introduced. It was a bipartisan compromise that ended the outright ban of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from the military. The compromise stated that the military would not ask, and the service people would not tell what their sexual orientation was.

Little did anyone know at the time that it would cost taxpayers over 400 million dollars. It also resulted in nearly 14,000 dismissals of which approximately 1000 were considered mission critical, thus jeopardizing military readiness. This does not include the numbers that did not re-enlist because the fear of being found out was just too great. Even those that did not ‘tell’ lived in constant fear, because it was quite common for someone in an act of vengeance or other harassment to report on someone else’s sexual orientation.

While we implemented DADT, most of our allies in other countries outright removed all military discrimination based on sexual orientation. And everything has gone very well for them. In fact, our allies also recently announced that they will no longer fight alongside US troops unless we end our discrimination. They cite concern for their soldiers from US homophobia. Our allies make some interesting points in the following article: http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2010/05/8992

Some question why it makes any difference and wonder why people cannot simply remain silent. However, the truth is that soldiers are being asked to constantly lie about a major part of their life. While many soldiers openly discuss significant others and have pictures of their personal lives, the gay and lesbian soldiers are forbidden to do so. It is a constant every day concern for them.

DADT has had an impact on several of our favorite slash characters. Jasper felt he must break it off with Edward to join the military in “It’s Fate" by OCDJen. Edward is currently in counseling after having had to hold it all in and lie every day for eight years about who he was in “Southern Charm” by Meikela. One of the most difficult of all stories involving DADT which permeated the story was “Chromaticity” by shoefreak37. My favorite quote from that story is “Edward would glare at the faded, ubiquitous 'support our troops' magnets that were on every other vehicle he saw. Support our troops, but only if they're straight, he would think bitterly”

Here is a real life plea from the boyfriend of a soldier. He made and posted several videos. The saddest of which he made is called “Boyfriend left for military” where he is in tears. He almost looks like Edward in that one. In this one he explains the impact on DADT on real people and he makes several good points:

Read more real stories here:
http://www.wegiveadamn.org/category/military
http://www.sldn.org/blog/c/letters

It may seem like a small thing to some, and others may wonder what the big deal is if they are not interested in the military. However, historically how we treat our soldiers does tend to impact other elements of society. Remember when the voting age was dropped from 21 to 18? The strongest argument was that if they are old enough to die for their country, they are old enough to vote. We can only hope that once DADT is repealed, we will see more positive changes to our society.

The House of Representatives approved a measure that would add the repeal of DADT to the Defense Authorization Bill. As a compromise, it will only go into effect when signed off by the Defense Secretary, Joint Chiefs Chairman, and the President. It is unclear whether or not actual nondiscrimination language will be added to the military code and if any consideration will be made for a soldier’s partner. Republicans in the Senate have threatened to filibuster the bill. (Now would be a good time to contact your senator.)

If you are aware of any other Twilight slash stories featuring DADT, please let us know in the comments.

4 comments:

vampisthenewblack said...

Chromaticity made me cry, and that lad in the video, I just wanted to give him a hug :( I'm not from the US, so I can't go around saying this policy or that policy sucks, but I certainly do hope it gets repealed. It sounds like it was a step in the right direction way back when it was instigated, but it's time to take the next step.

I'll be hoping that it does :D

Clairdeluneisgreat said...

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6052981/1/Hard_as_a_Rock

So the email thing isnt working so I figured id post it here. Great little o/s. Thought you ladies might like it and maybe rec it. Its a yummy geeky slashy Em/Jas.

LovelyPenguin said...

Just found this list of which countries allow and disallow homosexuals. We are by far in the minority, right there with Cuba, China, North Korea, and Iran...

LovelyPenguin said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_orientation_and_military_service