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"The goodbys are not the hardest part...It's the hellos"

Note: I was going to post this to the Santorum thread, but figured that, considering its length, and the fact that it doesn't directly relate to Santorum's comments, it would be better as as own thread.

www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-war-gay17apr17005421,1,2873316.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection

For Gays, Secrecy in Love, War

Partners of American military personnel are the invisible players back home, bearing their burdens without support or rights.


Patricia Ward Biederman, Times Staff Writer

When he went off to fight in Iraq, the 39-year-old Los
Angeles resident did what any airman might do. He took with him a photo of
his beloved, a reminder of who waits for him at home.

But the
airman is gay. So the photo he carries with him appears to be of his dog.
The pet is in the foreground, and the man's partner of five years, a
41-year-old talent agent named Brian, is in the background, as if Brian
were a friend who just wandered into the frame.

The United States
armed forces deem open homosexuality a risk to morale, good order,
discipline and unit readiness. Gay servicemen and women who reveal their
sexual orientation or are found to be homosexual are subject to
discharge.

As a result, Brian and other partners of American
military personnel are the invisible players on the home front. The media
are filled with photos of the worried families of straight soldiers,
including their tearful, poignant goodbyes or their joyous reunions. But
gay and lesbian partners can't share such scenes. They can't access the
support services the military offers spouses. They can't be sure they
would be the first to find out if their loved ones were wounded, captured
or killed.

"We do our goodbyes at home behind closed doors and then
drive to the base or the airport ... and, there, we'll just shake hands
like we're brothers or friends," Brian said.

Brian's partner has
been mobilized several times since they met, said Brian, who asked to be
interviewed in a booth at a Beverly Hills restaurant, where other diners
would not overhear. He declined to let his surname be printed, lest it
reveal his partner's identity to other airmen. The men keep in touch by
e-mail, but they never know who might be reading their exchanges. "We have
to keep our e-mails very sterile and cryptic," Brian said.

Brian
said he hates pretending that they are just pals, but subterfuge has
become second nature for his partner after almost 20 years in the Air
Force.

Their caution extends to the greeting heard by anyone who
calls their Westside home, a house that Brian lived in for years before he
met his partner: "Our answering machine at home has to be in his voice
only, no mention of me," Brian said.

Brian tolerates these
evasions, which he blames on the military's "don't ask, don't tell"
policy. "Americans shouldn't have to do this," he said.

A
Department of Defense official pointed out that "don't ask, don't tell" is
the law and said: "The department continues to work tirelessly to
administer that law in a manner that is both fair and consistent. The
Department of Defense remains committed to treating all service members
with dignity and respect while fairly enforcing the provisions of the
law."

In 1982 the Defense Department formalized World War II-era
policies against allowing homosexuals to serve.

As a presidential
candidate, Bill Clinton supported repealing the ban, but early in his
first term he softened his stance in the face of opposition from the
military, Congress and a substantial portion of the U.S. public. The
opposition argued that the presence of homosexual soldiers could offend or
make other troops uncomfortable, undermining esprit de corps and possibly
compromising security.

In 1994 the "don't ask, don't tell"
compromise took effect. Recruits could not be asked their sexual
orientation, but evidence of homosexual conduct could be turned over to
unit commanders for fact-finding investigations.

In recent years,
most European countries have begun allowing out-of-the-closet gays to
serve in their militaries. In the Middle East, closeted American gays
serve alongside openly gay troops from Britain and Australia.

Among
the 19 NATO countries, six do not let openly gay men and women serve:
Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and the United States. Ireland
and Israel are among the 24 nations that allow openly gay
soldiers.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Center for the Study of
Sexual Minorities in the Military at UC Santa Barbara, said his group is
keeping watch to see whether other nations open their militaries to gays
as a result of a 1999 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that
led to Britain's lifting of its ban in 2000.

The Servicemembers
Legal Defense Network in Washington has counseled and provided legal
services to about 3,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans in the
military over the last decade.

The defense network advises gay
soldiers filling out military life insurance forms to describe the
beneficiary partner only as a "friend."

Similarly, the defense
network advises gay soldiers to use "friend" on the form that tells the
military whom to notify in case the soldier is wounded, taken prisoner,
missing in action or killed. Next of kin must be listed on notification
forms as well, and blood relatives are more likely to be called than
"friends," say the defense network and other advocates for gay
soldiers.

Unlike blood relatives and straight spouses, gay and
lesbian partners don't have access to base support groups and services,
and they often can't visit hospitalized service personnel, let alone have
a voice in their treatment.

Brian is listed as a friend on his
partner's notification form, and Brian doubts that he would be treated
like a mourning spouse if his airman partner were to fall in
battle.

"If something were to happen to him, they're not going to
knock on my door. They're going to go to the person who is first on that
list, and the person who's first on that list is not going to tell me,"
Brian said.

In wartime, when manpower needs are high, soldiers who
are identified as gay are less likely to be ousted than in peacetime,
according to a 2001 report by the UC Santa Barbara center. Discharges
often all but stop during the actual conflict, only to pick up again as
soon as the fighting is over. Discharges for homosexuality tripled after
World War II ended in 1945, the report notes. They also surged after the
Korean War.

After the Vietnam War, discharges for homosexuality
didn't increase significantly until 1977. Sociologist Rhonda Evans, author
of the UCSB report, speculates that the end of the draft heightened the
need for willing soldiers, whatever their sexual orientation. During the
1991 Persian Gulf War, discharges of gay military members were put on
hold, only to be started again when the fighting was over.

But gay
service people in the U.S. military are always at risk of exposure, war or
no war, advocates say.

Kathi Wescott, a staff attorney with the
defense network, said the organization warns gay military members that
their secret may not be safe even with their military physician, mental
health professional or chaplain. Defense attorneys in a court martial or
other legal proceeding in which a gay soldier is the defendant "are really
the only safe place in the military where people can talk openly about
their sexual orientation," she said.

According to the UCSB report,
lesbians in the military are much more likely to be expelled than gay men.
In 1999, almost a third of the 1,046 American military members discharged
because of their sexual orientation were women, although they made up only
14% of the active armed forces.

A contractor in Southern
California, 27-year-old Jen has been the partner for more than a year of a
woman now serving on a Navy ship in the gulf.

Jen, who also asked
that her surname not be used, knows firsthand what happens to sailors who
are identified as gays or lesbians. She graduated from the Naval Academy
and served as a naval lieutenant until last year, when she was discharged
after deciding, she said for reasons of integrity, to reveal that she is a
lesbian.

Now she worries what will happen to her 34-year-old
partner, who is coming to the end of a long career as an enlisted
woman.

The women talk every day via e-mail. Jen fills her partner
in on what's happening at home, including the state of her finances. The
active sailor signed two boxes of checks before she shipped out and trusts
Jen to pay her bills on time.

Unlike Brian and his airman partner,
the women are "pretty open" in their exchanges, though not so explicit as
to raise alarm: "There's not a lot we censor," Jen said.

They know
that their e-mails are read by the Navy for security reasons, but they
feel it is important to nurture their relationship, now more than ever,
given the pressures of war and distance: "We work really hard at staying
close," Jen said.

But the couple took precautions as well. The
women created an e-mail account in the name of the mobilized partner. Both
of them use that same sign-on when they correspond, which makes it almost
impossible for anyone to identify the recipient of the sailor's
e-mails.

The woman at war has an informal support group close at
hand. Three of her four roommates are lesbians--a statistical anomaly,
according to the defense network's Wescott. (No one knows how many of the
U.S.' 1.4 million service members are homosexual, but the UC Santa Barbara
report repeats standard estimates of the size of the gay, lesbian and
bisexual population in the United States -- 1% to 6% of women and 2% to 8%
of men report having had at least one sexual experience with someone of
the same gender.)

But back home Jen is cut off from the support
system established by the military for spouses: "There are resources here
on land I'm not allowed to tap into."

The base ombudsman is off
limits to her, for one: "If I were a spouse, I could call that person and
find out what was happening on the ship," Jen said. Jen has a good
relationship with her sailor partner's parents and trusts that they would
call her if anything happened to her partner.

Being able to
acknowledge their love, Jen said, "would take a weight off our
shoulders."

Although Jen said she is not bitter about the "don't
ask, don't tell" policy that ended her naval career, she thinks reform is
overdue. "The policy needs to change because there are so many gays
serving and serving well," she said, sounding like any proud spouse of an
American service member. "They're out there, and they're fighting for
us."

As the troops return from the war, gay and lesbian military
members will have to exercise restraint no one expects of the straight
soldiers they fought beside.

"The goodbyes are not the hardest
part," Brian said. "It's the hellos. The first time you see your partner
in five or six months, it's very emotional. And you have to shake
hands."

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I guess homosexuality's something like being "black" in a "white" world. Some can be in the "closet" and pass right on over and the rest are "outed" and reap humiliation. I've NEVER in my life had the desire to be with someone built just like me. Wouldn't know WHERE to begin, nor HOW to face 'em in the morning. Not that much LOVE in the world!! Had enough damnnnnn problems with the opposite sex. That was more than enough and still is.
Norland,
There is no parallel between the two. And I wish the homos and lesbos would quit trying to compare their sickness to the Black World's battle with civil rights. THERE IS NO COMPARISON. And, gee, I'm all broken up about a bum lover who can't get to his lover's bum because he is over in Iraq. That posting needs to be somewhere else, like their own sites, wherever they post. I have no sympathy for them.
quote:
Originally posted by Comrad:
ricardomath,
Why did you think this article would be of interest to this Black site? You should have posted it to some gay site.


Several reasons come to mind, offhand:

(1) When I originally ran across the article, I found it rather compelling. Although I oppose the Iraq War, I would like to see returning servicemen and women treated with respect.

(2) As a matter of fact, I have posted it to a couple of other forums, including one gay forum, and the rather conservative forum where I first encountered Lofton's invitation and link to here. As I mentioned above, my first thought was to post it to the Santorum thread, but I decided against it.

(3) As I scan through this forum, I see quite a wide range of interesting and thought provoking threads. It seems clear that peoples' intrests here extend beyond what might narrowly be considered as "black issues".

(4) 10% of all African Americans are gay, just like any other racial/ethnic group. (In fact, the races of the individuals mentioned in the story were not given, I believe. Those individuals may indeed be black, themselves.)

(5) Blacks are actually "overrepresented" in the military, although I don't recall the exact numbers, offhand. Thus, military policies with respect to gay serviceman and women in the military have a proportionately larger impact on the Black Community than other groups in society.

Smile

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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"When I originally ran across the article,I found it rather compelling."

Compelling to what? Speak up for the gay people? Are the gays asking you to crusade for them? And where did you dig up that phoney percentage of Black gays? You have been reading to much stormfront garbage.
quote:
Originally posted by Comrad:
Oh,
Now I understand. You are a gay rights crusader.


LOL! How about tired aging ex-activist? Big Grin

I was arrested on the steps of the supreme court in 1987 (?) with abour 480 others in a CD in conjunction with the Gay Rights March on Washington in 1987. We were released after about 72 hours, if I recall correctly.

Smile

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


Plowshares Actions
The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch


quote:
Originally posted by Comrad:
They should have kept you in one of their prisons where they would have taught you REAL gay rights. It is too bad you crusade for such sick people.


I get the feeling from your post that you don't like gays.

My wife works at the same University that I do. She is a cook for the Department of Residence. One day, there was a picture of two men kissing on the front page of the student paper, as part of a "kiss-in" organized by the gay student group here.

One of the guys in the picture was a student worker in the same kitchen, and my wife's coworkers were making nasty and derogotory remarks about gays all morning, right in front of her, figuring, I suppose, that as a foreigner, she wouldn't mind. (For some reason, many Americans seem to assume that all foreigners are anti-gay.) That afternoon, she got fed up, and started yelling and screaming at them all. They were surprised. They don't make anti-gay remarks anymore, at least not in front of her. She told them about how gays were treated in her country.

In my wife's city of Palmira, Colombia, she would read quite frequently in the city newspaper about how several gays were massacred the night before by the paramilitaries. (ie: Right Wing Death Squads)

The paramilitaries (AUC) even have a name for it. They call it "social cleansing".


Celebración gay en Colombia. Año 1998.

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


Plowshares Actions
The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch

quote:
Originally posted by Comrad:

They should have kept you in one of their prisons where they would have taught you REAL gay rights. It is too bad you crusade for such sick people.


Comrad, with all due respect, there are probably more people in this country that hate black folks than hate gays. Let's "live and let live". At the very least let's please try to exhibit a bit more respect for points of views and people that you may disagree with here in our little corner of the world. Smile



Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.
Gay Rights is a misnomer...everyone's bedroom activities are to remain private and not even placed into the civil rights equation....at all.....


I mean what in the hell who one likes to get busy with should have to do with anything.....will there be rights for brothers who like fat white women, or sisters with foot fetishes? The whole gay rights thing is a crock......they need to do like Clinton said....keep that sh-t to themselves......
I have to agreed about the issue that gay rights are not the same struggle as civil rights. My color is my birthright not a life style that I can change when it suits me or one that I can hide from. Put it this way very simply, if a gay man chooses, he can hide his sexual orientation as he pleases (staying in the closet) until he feels comfortable enough to come out. Black people have been out since the moment we came into the world, there was no closet for us to hide in, when the world turned aganist us. I've never seem water foundation signs that say straight only, or signs that tell gays to come in the back of the store. And while gays have faced violence at who they are it does even began to compare to the violence that black men, women and children have faced and continue to face.

When gays have faced 400 years of oppression and the horrible that blacks have, when they have been stripped of who they are and where they are from, then maybe the issues will be the same, but until then its not even close.
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
The whole gay rights thing is a crock......they need to do like Clinton said....keep that sh-t to themselves......


This reminds me of some conversations that I had with some very pro-clinton gays some time ago.

Dispite Clinton's backtracking on the "gays in the military" issue, and the continual intervention of the Justice Department in court cases against gay rights, almost all gay activists supported his re-election. You know, the "lesser of two evils" thing.

I suggested to several gay activists at the time that, if they must support Clinton as the lesser of two evils, that they create an unbrella organization, called, Gay Masochists For Clinton, to handle the re-election effort.

For some reason, I was the only person who thought that that would be a good idea, so it was never implimented. Oh, well... Big Grin Big Grin

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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[This message was edited by ricardomath on May 26, 2003 at 09:36 PM.]
quote:
Originally posted by jazzdog:
I have to agreed about the issue that gay rights are not the same struggle as civil rights. My color is my birthright not a life style that I can change when it suits me or one that I can hide from. Put it this way very simply, if a gay man chooses, he can hide his sexual orientation as he pleases (staying in the closet) until he feels comfortable enough to come out. Black people have been out since the moment we came into the world, there was no closet for us to hide in, when the world turned aganist us. I've never seem water foundation signs that say straight only, or signs that tell gays to come in the back of the store. And while gays have faced violence at who they are it does even began to compare to the violence that black men, women and children have faced and continue to face.

When gays have faced 400 years of oppression and the horrible that blacks have, when they have been stripped of who they are and where they are from, then maybe the issues will be the same, but until then its not even close.


I don't know. There are lots of struggles against oppression of all kinds going on all around the world. No two are exactly alike, yet it is not unusual for people engaged in one struggle to take lessons and inspiration from another struggle. I guess that I don't really see that as a negative thing. It's how we learn from each other, after all.

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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quote:
Originally posted by Comrad:
ricardomath,
Your little story about two gay men kissing is exactly what is wrong with our universities today. Those two want us to accept that behavior as normal. Did they also propose marriage to each other? AND WHERE DID YOU GET THAT 10% FIGURE. WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER THAT?


10% is the standard accepted figure, but I'm not going to attempt to justify it, because the exact figure really doesn't matter to me, and nothing that I have said depends on the exact number.

I'm perfectly willing to accept 50% or 1%. It really doesn't matter to me. Unless, of course, I make some arguement whose validity actually turns on the exact figure.

Why is it not normal for lovers to kiss? Confused I kiss my wife all the time. Heart

Don't you kiss your SO???

I have no way of knowing if their relationship is serious enough to result in marriage. I have kissed women without marrying them before. Haven't you? Confused

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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The Nuclear Resister
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ricardomath,
Just as I thought. You made it up! You post this disinformation from lala land. You are disingenuious and post fraudulent figures. I believe you were doing like most white men do, attack the image of the Black man. You are another Black male targeting white boy using a Black forum to post under currents of Black male hatred.
quote:
Originally posted by Comrad:
ricardomath,
Just as I thought. You made it up! You post this disinformation from lala land. You are disingenuious and post fraudulent figures. I believe you were doing like most white men do, attack the image of the Black man. You are another Black male targeting white boy using a Black forum to post under currents of Black male hatred.


Comrad, you're a trip! LOL!

The 10% figure has been around, like, forever. Across all cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. Actually, I'm surprised to hear anybody dispute it, but in any case, as I said before, I'm not inclined to attempt to justify it untill I actually make some arguement that needs it. I'm a mathematician, not a social scientist.

So, you are free to assume that the figure came from la-la land. Big Grin

As for the rest...I don't get it...

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


Plowshares Actions
The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch


Yep Comrad,

And the shiitty thing is...as soon as they perceive success from their efforts, they distance themselves from black people as if they have served their purpose....no, they need to take their decadent lifestyle and force it on others on the basis of THEIR OWN DAMN STRUGGLE, not on the backs of those who fought THEIR battles alone.......
Comrad, I come from the days when "gay" meant "euphoric". Sex with an SO of the opposite sex was more than enough for me. I don't know how folks with the same body parts even think in a sexual way. Norland's never been into the "freaky-deaky"!! Different strokes for different folks. Some folks in this world are getting sicker by the second!! There's a price to pay!! Frown
What's with all the gay bashing. Am I to assume that a gay black person isn't welcomed on this site? As far as the gay struggle goes it can be compared to the biases that black people come across. Being discriminated against for any reason hurts and I don't see how someone who is discriminated against for their race can turn around and discriminate against someone else for any reason. I hate the little Kumbia speeches, but you people need to wake the F up.
obvious_1,

I do not need to know anyone's sexual preference unless i am trying to get with them. And since I don't approach men, they need to keep it to themselves....as so far as women, that is just a candidate for conversion....but I do not even need to know that from them either unless I approach one. People do not need to promote their bedroom activity unless asked about it....if not....save it
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
obvious_1,

I do not need to know anyone's sexual preference unless i am trying to get with them. And since I don't approach men, they need to keep it to themselves....as so far as women, that is just a candidate for conversion....but I do not even need to know that from them either unless I approach one. People do not need to promote their bedroom activity unless asked about it....if not....save it


One thing that occures to me is that whether we want to know or not, many times we do know. People wear wedding bands, put pictures of their family on their desk at work, walk hand in hand and even kiss their SO in public.

While I'm not one to discuss private matters in public, if somebody doesn't like to see my wife and I holding hands or kissing in public, then they are free to wear blinders over their eyes. I imaging that many gays feel the same way. Smile

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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Well ricardomath,

When one chooses to do what they want to, then they have the consequences that are coming to them. I don't give a damn what gays do, but they'll never push that BS as normal to me. The purpose of sex is to procreate....all they are doing is having recreational sex with the inability to reproduce, which makes what they are doing unnatural as hell. And if they ever tried to promote that sh-t to me or mine, all hell will break looose. I don't bother others, yet they do not get to impose their warped azz value system onto me....fair is fair. i'm kool, but they should confine their lifestyles to themselves and not push their values off onto kids who are impressionable and vunerable at young ages. So yes, you and your wife should also keep your bedroom acts to yourselves in my opinion...to me the litmus test is....anything you wouldn't want anyone else to do in front of a small child of yours you should not do in public.......in front of others....fair enough huh?
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
Well ricardomath,

When one chooses to do what they want to, then they have the consequences that are coming to them. I don't give a damn what gays do, but they'll never push that BS as normal to me. The purpose of sex is to procreate....all they are doing is having recreational sex with the inability to reproduce, which makes what they are doing unnatural as hell.


Hmmmmm...since my wife is not able to have children (at an official age of 50), I'm sure glad that she doesn't share your view of the purpose of sex! LOL! Big Grin
quote:
And if they ever tried to promote that sh-t to me or mine, all hell will break looose. I don't bother others, yet they do not get to impose their warped azz value system onto me....fair is fair. i'm kool, but they should confine their lifestyles to themselves and not push their values off onto kids who are impressionable and vunerable at young ages.
So yes, you and your wife should also keep your bedroom acts to yourselves in my opinion...to me the litmus test is....anything you wouldn't want anyone else to do in front of a small child of yours you should not do in public.......in front of others....fair enough huh?

I can go along with that, so long as it is stipulated that holding hands and kissing goodby, for example, are not in that category. I don't believe that you really want somebody telling you that you can't hold your wife's/girlfriend's hand in public, simply because they don't want their children to see.

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


Plowshares Actions
The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch


quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
The purpose of sex is to procreate....all they are doing is having recreational sex with the inability to reproduce, which makes what they are doing unnatural as hell.


Hey man, you're making me nervous. Your statement would also include some . . .uh . . .personal behavior that I'd be extremely hard-pressed to give up. If you know what I mean! Wink

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