I’m very conflicted about gays serving openly in the military. To me, the military is an institution that must function optimally. It’s mission cannot be compromised to satisfy social experimentation. Nevertheless, gays have served and will continue to serve with distinction — provided that they keep secret a significant part of their self-identity, a notion that seems un-American. Frankly, DADT seems like a workable, although somewhat unkind, compromise.
I don’t want to debate the whole issue, though. Instead, I want to ask one very narrow question about gays being able to serve openly in the military.
I was talking with Charles Martel today about the fact that guys, whether they’re straight or gay, will be guys, meaning that their nature, sexually, is to be the predator. If gays can serve openly, will that mean that those who have more predatory instincts will be open in their pursuit of other service members, straight or gay? You have to assume that some will.
Those people who have acknowledged this probable reality, and who support openly gay service people, say that the military already has systems in place for sexual harassment. These systems, of course, apply to harassment between men and women (again, with the assumption that men are the harassers, and women the harassees).
But here’s my question: Will men who are on the receiving end of harassment from an openly gay service person complain? It occurred to me that, for men who are being harassed, it’s not just about sex, it’s about sexual identity. Will they be afraid to speak up for fear of someone thinking, “Well, they asked for it by sending out gay signals?” For women, the “they asked for it” is about behavior, which is bad enough, but for men, it’s about identity, which can be a sufficiently frightening issue to stifle the men altogether. I’m sorry that sounds muddled, but I just wonder if men, especially young men, will have the courage to admit to homosexual harassment, or if they’ll fear that it will somehow make people assume that they are gay.
So I’m curious if straight guys reading this post have been on the receiving end of subtle or overt propositions from other men? And, if so, would those straight guys have been willing to report those overtures if they came from someone inappropriately using a power position or negligently putting a mission at risk?
Ultimately, I don’t know if this really matters. One could say that, if men are so insecure about their sexuality that they won’t report abuse, they’re too weak to be in “this man’s” Army anyway. But I do wonder….
As always with posts on sensitive issues like this, I am not making an invitation to gay bashing, which is an inexcusable and execrable approach to the issue. I’m simply curious about the dynamic of straight young men, who usually get to be the sexual initiator, who are confronted by gay young men who also want to be the sexual initiator.