Sunday, October 16, 2011

Active duty gays say coming out has been non-event

Active duty gays say coming out has been non-event

Summary: Since the "don't ask don't tell" policy was repealed a few weeks ago there has been a outpouring of support for those men and women who have previously and those currently serving their country. Yesterday(Oct 15th, 2011) was there first ever National Convention of Gay Military Personnel on active-duty and it was attended by around 200 of the military members who were able to finally share this with their friends and superiors after so many years of being forced to hide who they really were as a person. The conferance was called "Outserve" informally and people attending were just the tip of the iceberg.  With estimates of gay military personnel between 47,000 and 65,000 there are still obviously many many men and women who are faced with guilt, fear, intimidation, harassment, all of the above or a combination of some.

Since DADT was repealed there has not been one incident reported which is an amazing feat and shows what a huge success this decision has been. It's been almost 4 weeks now and when previously there were many different reports coming in it's really a tribute to some of the superiors that have shown acceptance now that they were able to.

My Take: The fact that many but not nearly all of the men and women who are or have been in same sex relationships "came out" just shows that we have came a long ways but there is still many more hurdles to overcome before we can say this journey is over with and there isn't a stigma attached to the term gay. I think as a society we have absolutely become more accepting of different lifestyles in the past 10-20 years. Being gay isn't looked down upon as it was when my parents were kids and that's a positive step but there are many more steps that still need to be taken.

Many of the bias' that people have these days are things they learned from their environment growing up and the people that were the role models in that environment. Whether it's a broken home with a alcoholic father that uses derogatory terms such as fag, homo, queer or a child learning this slang from his peers and older siblings because there are no parents around it's one of the biggest problems facing us as we look forward as a society looking to change.

Even if your not saying how much you hate gays or directly bashing them kids can sense when you don't approve of something and something that's all it takes to push a child in the wrong direction. Whether it's hurtful to them personally because they have developed feelings and don't know how to stop them for someone of the same sex or they start talking in a hurtful manner around other people because they want to show you how much like you they are its the first step to this change we need.

I know my parents grew up in a time when it just was not ok to be intimate with someone of the same sex. PERIOD. That meant ridicule, abuse from home, school, parents, kids, even teachers and coaches. I'm proud to say that both my parents didn't let me or my siblings grow up that way, we were all taught that it's not right to judge someone on anything but who they are as a person, it's just as bad as being a racist.....let's us make sure we show the next generation what's right and wrong so they can be the first generation without prejudice and keep it up.....