In response to my opinion piece in Sunday's Denver Post, I was invited to join George Brauchler on KHOW-AM 630 to discuss my criticism of his remarks. A strong advocate of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Mr. Brauchler's sole argument for the law is based on privacy. In cruder terms, Mr. Brauchler is worried that gays are obsessed with looking at other people's junk.
When the government passes a law that provides for blanket discrimination, it had better have a damn good reason. It's called a 'legitimate government interest.' I don't see a legitimate reason to turn away the service of patriotic Americans because it might make a few people uncomfortable. Besides, after basic training, most military members have private shower stalls. In boot camp the last thing I was worried about was checking someone out. Eighty men had about 10 minutes total to complete the showering process -- not exactly enough time to get yourself clean nevermind worry about getting a good look at another person's equipment.
After basic training, the number of times I showered with other people were relatively few. In the occasions where I wouldn't have time to go home to clean up, I think I was the uncomfortable one through the whole ordeal. I was out to many of my peers and none them expressed discomfort when placed in a situation like that. Nevertheless, I found myself careful with where my eyes wandered -- intently staring at the soap dispenser on the wall.
Proponents of the gay ban can dress up their arguments with phrases like unit cohesion, military readiness, and morale to justify the ouster of 11,000 gays. In reality, for all their rhetoric, the only thing this policy comes down to is the animus harbored by an ever-shrinking number of service members and the fear that we're looking at them in the showers.
It's absurd that we even have to discuss this issue. It's even more absurd that as the Army desperately searches for recruits, this Congress and president cling to a failed policy that harms our nation.
Especially when plastic dividers are cheap.