As of midnight, Don't Ask Don't Tell has ended. I genuinely have no idea how much this will change the lives of the gay and lesbian members of the military. Partially because I'm not in the military, and partially because I'm not
I recently read an article in Marie Claire about Navy women on submarines. This fall, for the first time ever, women are going to deploy underwater. The article was an interview with a super high ranking navel officer who also happens to have lady bits. When asked about sexual harassment underwater, she said:
I would say the leadership needs to set the tone, and everybody needs to understand that you’re part of a professional organization and professionals don’t treat each other unprofessionally. There are always going to be men out there who are going to try you as a woman to see: How far can I push you before I break you? And if something happens to our women going on board and they don’t act or say something and stop it, then that’s when that cancer grows.
The thing about being a woman on a submarine is that, unless you're in some 50s farce where you're undercover as a fella, people know you're a woman. Not only are you bunking in more private quarters, you also - you know - pee sitting down and stuff. It's a big deal that you're there, and you have to own it.
In the quote above, the officer implies that women have a responsibility to call out mistreatment and inequality when they see it. I don't necessarily agree with that in a broad sense - it's a simplification that doesn't take circumstances into account. In the submarine sense, I have literally no idea. Trapped underwater seems like both an important and dangerous place to take a stand.
Is there a corollary to gays? If you're in the military and you're not heterosexual, you're a lot harder to identify than a woman on a sub. Unless you want that part of your life to be apparent to your coworkers, they don't necessary have to know. Are there people who feel that individuals in that position have a responsibility to speak out? Again, it doesn't seem like the safest environment - but it does seem like an important one.
I'm glad that such a stupid rule was finally recognized as such, but I'm curious as to how much of a difference it's going to make in the day-to-day life of those that it affects. Will they be skipping through the fields, holding hands with their loved ones for all to see? Or will they just keep living their lives?
Anyway. YAY. Goodbye stupid rule. (In the Army, anyway. Sigh. Baby steps?)