For the past few months, the Department of Defense has been studying the effects that having openly gay service members will have. Morale, health and welfare, plus military readiness factors have been looked at in detail, while training has started to prepare for the changes to come.
For the most part, seasoned military members don't have a problem with people serving while being openly gay - there have been homosexuals serving in the military since the world's very first army was formed. Their level of acceptance, however, may be a different story.
The toughest areas of acceptance will be found in the initial training stages: Basic Training and Boot Camp. This is when you have the first melting pot of Americana thrown together - you get people of all shapes, sizes, races, religions and now, open sexuality. Showering, bunking, and team building will be a new experience for the military when it comes to people being openly gay. In the past, it was hidden and/or ignored.
The process will be hardest for male trainees (usually the most homo-phobic) as openly gay males have had the most difficult level of acceptance among their peers. Over time troops become accustom to each other, and their individual interests and beliefs, and acceptance of their peer- the brother or sister in arms is formed.
There have been countless openly lesbian service members, and very little has ever come from it - the troops generally accept it. What they won't easily accept: the visual aspects of male arousal amongst their peers in say, the showers or combined / close quarters.
From the sounds of things, under President Obama's new policy, it will be a "Accept it, or get out" scenario.
The training that current military members receive have already made it clear that it is a "Done Deal, so Deal With IT!". Want to know what the troops dread the most about the policy changes? Having to endure the hours of training. You could take 90+% of the military and tell them: "DADT is repealed, and your buddy can come out of the closet now." And the response? "I knew you were gay. Are you looking at my butt?"
There is already regular joking about it being legal, and troops can be heard teasing each other about being gay. And really - they don't care if someone is gay. What do they care about? Five things:
- Do you know your job?
- Can you do your job without me doing it for you?
- Do you have your gear and can you use it?
- Are you loyal to our Team and Unit?
- Do you have my back/Can I trust you - with my life, and my secrets?
Those questions will have to be addressed by the leadership of today. In addition, the policies will have to change - not only to join and serve - but the heart of military law itself: the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Under the current UCMJ it is illegal to conduct Sodomy. Sodomy is basically considered to be anything that is not regular sex, to include oral and anal sex. (This includes married couples...)
But I'm sure these details are being seen to, especially since law makers are involved... and yet... no one has mentioned any changes to the UCMJ for sodomy taking place during their new training. Just that the ability to join and working standards will change.
So that brings the question: Will it be legal to join and serve your country, but NOT have sex with your lover in a way that brings pleasure to you both?
Only time will tell...
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