In one conversation, I heard how gay military officers sometimes leave “quietly” (as Randy Shilts said in his 1993 book “Conduct Unbecoming”) and sometimes take related jobs with civilian contractors or even (in DC) civilian DOD or Pentagon jobs doing similar work (since they have the TS clearances and that has pretty much stopped being an issue for civilians since the early 90s. The “risk” is not worth it.
I’m struck by something else, as I think about why some people think that gays “destroy the family”. It seems on observation that in many families people see the decision to marry and have children as dependent on the “loyalty” of other family members, and their being able to count on the childless to step up and help them if something goes wrong; without that “family solidarity” [where immediate family is personal the safety net] so common in the soap operas, it’s harder to commit to the decision to even have one. People who don’t have their own children (until more recently, most LGBT people) would experience this unchosen personal family responsibility as as subservience and perhaps sacrifice. This doesn’t fit the norms of an individualistic society (where personal expressive efforts, as on the Web, are legally and morally supported by individualistic values); but in the past, particularly in rural or less well educated families (the “Red families”, as in the book by Cahn and Carbone, reviewed Aug. 2, 2010) this was expected, and it is certainly the norm in the developing world, where immigrants often send money back to relatives from jobs. In a world that embraces inheritance and “generational wealth” it seems that one can benefit from the marital sexuality of others, but one must also sometimes then submit to it, perhaps even “sacrificially”. The family solidarity problem seems to map to the “unit cohesion” problem for the military. How many people think about the big picture this way?
(By the way, I passed the DC9 club (across from Nellies) nearby, as recently in the local DC news; I guess it was open; no connection to the gay clubs.)
Update: Sept. 26, 2012
The DC9 club (straight), involved in news stories about an incident, is actually down 9th Street a couple of addresses from Nellie's. It has no connection to other clubs discussed here. My "issues" blog has a label on zoning, where closure "for nuicance" issues are discussed.