Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

How fascinating to contemplate that indeed “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” When the Defense Department banished the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, one might have thought that LGBTQ folks would be accepted in the armed forces. Fat chance. Obama might declare in his Inaugural Address that he believed that gays should be equal to straights in our society. Fat chance. In the New York Times of January 20, 2013 on the front page below the fold was an article “Military Rules Leave Gay Spouses Out in Cold.” The article, by Rachel L. Swarns, describes a female Army Lieutenant who, after returning from nine months in Afghanistan, “… signed up for a military retreat to help soldiers and their husbands and wives cope with the pressures of deployments and relocations.” Alas, the Lieutenant, legally married to another woman, and her spouse were denied permission to attend. The military chaplains running the program told the couple that their presence made the others uncomfortable. These men of the cloth apparently went to the trouble of determining that under federal law only heterosexuals couples could be helped with coping.

It is pathetic that these chaplains would do such a thing. Sadly, it is predictable that the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” only meant that gays and lesbians would not be summarily discharged for being so. So, this lesbian woman, who apparently served honorably, would just have to cope on her own with such things as PTSD and other results of involvement, directly or indirectly, in killing other human beings.

Ah, me, the really distressing part of this story to my mind is the fact that the presence of gay or lesbian couples would make straight couples uncomfortable, and furthermore, rather than trying to deal with this psychological dysfunction, for that is what it is, the Armed Forces prefer to remove the irritant.

Well, it’s nothing new. Throughout history, serving in the military has been for far too many a means of proving “manhood.” One can only presume that such proof is desired because of insecurity. It’s like the middle aged, overweight, grey-bearded men riding their Harleys, invariably with open pipes. (I don’t buy the argument “loud pipes save lives” but I will concede that you know when they are coming.)

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