Homosexuality Is Compatible with Military ServiceColumn By Bruce Duncan
I am a man. I am a heterosexual. I am comfortable with my sexuality and I am confident in my abilities as a positively contributing member of the world society. There are the reasons I would proudly serve in the same military as any homosexual who is committed to the high standards of that military. Personally, I feel that any person comfortable with her or himself as a person, mature enough to act professionally, and capable of acting in a combat situation, would welcome a similar comrade-in-arms regardless of his or her sexual orientation. True, the majority of homosexuals in the United States would not be able to meet the strong morals and the intense motivational levels necessary for military service, but the percentage of heterosexuals who fail these requirements would likely be the same.
The majority of Congress-creatures now in office have stated that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. I do not think this is true. I do, however, think that homosexuality is incompatible with service in the United States military in its current state, though through no fault of any homosexual. If President Clinton imposes a mandate on the U.S. military allowing homosexuals to serve, many, if not most of the heterosexual males in the military would object strongly, due to what I think is an antiquated and wholly annoying sense of machismo. Men who are not confident in themselves trying to prove that they are. The results of a Presidential mandate might include internal confusion, dissent, and hatred in the military and would therefore make it a force not capable of carrying out its missions. Unmotivated soldiers, soldiers who feel their Commander in Chief has sold them out, will not be able to defend their country, and almost as importantly, they will not appear to the world as if they are able to defend their country. What is the answer?
Training and education are the weapons to be used against the ignorance and immaturity of the average homophobic soldier. Train the soldiers in the truth. Sexual relations do not have a place in a professional environment. Sexually related problems are more likely in the military than the civilian sector for many reasons; close physical proximity for long periods of time, intense stress, and (believe it or not) boredom are just a few. The military is getting better about dealing with sexually related problems. Sexual harassment is not tolerated and is grounds for immediate dismissal from the military. This policy does not imply nor mean that women are the only objects of sexual harassment.
If any heterosexual is worried about being harassed by a homosexual, he or she should be taught that such behavior on the part of the offender is in violation of existing military regulations, and that the offender will be discharged. A military that allows homosexuals to openly serve would protect both heterosexuals and homosexuals from those not able to live up to its high standards. As long as the standards are not lowered, as long as the U.S. military accepts and retains only the best qualified personnel I feel that race, gender, and sexual preference should not be criteria for candidacy.
Bruce Duncan `93 is the son of a retired naval officer and a friend of many active duty military personnel. He has been closely associated with the military all his life.