I said she was a good Soldier. That’s not to say there wasn’t a slew of problems – but they were the problems found in many a young Soldier: she partied a little too hard at times, she was late to unit musters without calling ahead, and there were other issues but nothing that would not have resoled themselves with mentoring and maturity. She is, after all, only 20 years old.
And then something strange happened, so strange that everyone around her noticed it. After coming out to the CO, she changed: she tried a little bit harder, she wasn’t late anymore, she did everything we asked her to and she did it with the passion and fire you expect from a Pfc. Her attitude changed; she smiled a bit more often, cut up with the unit more freely. She was finally comfortable in her own skin.
Living a double existence is one of the major problems of the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that doesn’t get much attention. I understand that it’s kind of a hard thing to encapsulate, but forcing someone to live a lie puts them in the position of holding back – how would you like it if always seemed like there was a thumb pushing you back down?
It’s time. It’s past the time, actually, to end this ridiculous policy and let those who are gay serve alongside anyone else willing to put their life on the line for this great nation.
An informal straw poll of some Soldiers around me revealed what most of us wearing the uniform already know — very few people care who you’re sleeping with. Almost universally, the answers went something like, “I don’t want to know who anyone is sleeping with gay or straight, I want to know that if it came down to it, could that person put bullets down range and could they pull my ass to safety if I should go down.”
Of course there are those who, for whatever reason, are still adamantly opposed to gays serving in the military just like there were those opposed to integrating the services back when blacks and white served in separate units. I won’t get into their logic because frankly, I don’t understand it.