Most of the stuff about Gays in the military is full of people yelling cliches at each other.

The dirty little secret, of course, is that Gays are already serving in the US military, both men and women, and that the “don’t ask don’t tell” compromise is the best way to go.

Reality check: Most gays don’t ask to be gay.

But there is a broad “bisexual” area out there, and giving a societal okay to gay behavior might mean the breakdown of military discipline in many ways.

Of course, a lot of folks might say this has already happened: in an Army where 10 percent of females are pregnant at any time, someone is breaking the rules. Yes, many are pregnant by spouses, but when a deployed soldier gets pregnant, it may mean reassigning her, and it can affect the unit. (Although statistically, even with pregnancy, if I remember correctly, the rate of pregnancy related disability in women is lower than the rate of disability in men, which tends to be higher due to “risk taking” by young males).

Awhile back, a General threatened to court marshall all pregnant women and the fathers of their babies if the women got pregnant during deployment; that has since been rescinded, but it doesn’t take a  statistician to figure out that there is a bit of smooching and cuddling going on.

Few people realize the “hot house” atmosphere in small units who live together, eat together and work together under stress.

So what does this have to do with gays?

Well, excess sexual activity among people in the same unit is not good for morale. You get anger, you get rape, and you get jealousy, and you get cliques.

A lot of this is already being coped with by the military when it integrated women into their units.

A flirtatious woman can destroy the morale in any unit, so one worries that gay soldiers who act out on their impulses will affect morale, and can destroy a unit.

A good officer, however, will transfer the troublemaker under regulations.

But, add homophobia (either from a strict religious background or because the homophobic soldier was sexually abused by a man when he was a boy) to the hot house atmosphere, and you can see potential problems.

Then there is the problem of cliques.

Will a gay officer “cover up” for his fellow gay who is accused of groping in the shower? Will certain units become cliques of gays, so that few heterosexuals will be willing to join? Will reporting incidents result in the reporting officer being disciplined?

Again, none of this is new, and the military had to cope with it when they integrated Blacks into the military.

But the real problem is not gays serving in the military. The problem is discipline.

So, keep the strict discipline,  and allow gays to openly serve, but keep the ban on sexual activity that interferes with the mission.

But increase training to emphasize the professionalism in your soldiers, and it will be done.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes on human rights at Makaipablog.

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