Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Social meeting of free-speech group recalls mood over early debates on gays in the military

One more little story from the EFF party at Matty’s early Saturday evening (above Dupont Circle).
An individual who had been in the Army from the late 1980s through 1998, in infantry and then military intelligence, at Fort Bragg and then Fort Benning, did recall some controversy in the early days of the debate of Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and desire to lift the ban on gays in the military.

He actually took more note of the recent decision to open all combat jobs to women, based only on the individual soldier’s ability to do all the physical tasks require for the MOS, which a minority of women do fill (and which most gay men otherwise in the military would fill, and which transgender might fill). Female soldiers might make targets for enemy capture.

There was some tension over the idea of open gays in some units in 1993, he said, fueled by the remarks by Sam Nunn and Charles Moskos.  The issue tended to dissipate and be forgotten with time.
My own experience, as I have written in my books, was that there was a lot of tension in a civilian dormitory at William and Mary in the fall of 1961.  Men who didn’t show an interest in women were seen as a “threat” in dragging down the competitiveness of men around them.  This was less true in the dormitory environment at the University of Kansas from 1966-1968 (early), as notions over sexuality were already loosening a little.  By the time I went into the Army with Basic training in 1968 at Fort Jackson, there was essentially no tension, because of the preoccupation with an authoritarian environment.

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