Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another victim of DADT

I don't understand the argument about DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell). THe conservatives go on about the dangers of gays in the military. Well, numerous civilized countries have openly gay service people and they see no degradation in their military function. I think the UK is a fine example.

But what I really don't understand about the conservative mindset is that they seem to think that DADT keeps GLBT folks from serving. It doesn't. There are plenty of GLBT service people serving with honor and distinction. DADT just keeps them from being honest about who they are. And by treating them as though they should be ashamed, it puts them danger.

LIke Seaman August Provost, who was murdered and his body burned at Camp Pendleton CA. From HRC:
According to local media reports, the Navy and Marine Corps confirmed that a sailor's body was found on the base at about 3 a.m. Tuesday morning. A military spokesperson confirmed that there was evidence of foul play in the killing and that the case is a murder investigation. It is also understood a “person of interest” is in custody at Camp Pendleton but has not been charged with a crime. Local activists report the victim may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation.
Steve Benen at Washington Monthly picks it up, but suggests that orientation may not be the issue.
Here's what we know as of now.

First, Navy officials reported that Provost was discovered dead, shot while standing sentry at his post Tuesday night. He had not, however, been bound or gagged. Someone tried to light a fire at the guard shack, and investigators believe it was an attempt to "destroy evidence" of the shooting.

Second, investigators are still looking for evidence about Provost's suspected murder being a hate crime, and have taken at least one "person of interest" into custody. The victim's aunt believes the shooting may have been related to Provost's sexual orientation, race, or both.....

Third, Navy Capt. Matt Brown, a career Navy officer (not a political appointee), spoke to reporters about the crime the other day. Though he wouldn't go into too much detail, Brown suggested Provost's killing may have been more a matter of his location and timing, not his race and sexual orientation. "What I can tell you, unequivocally at this point, based on the preliminary information that we have, is that regardless of the person standing watch in that sentry station, this crime would have most likely been carried out in the same way," Brown said. "In other words, another sailor could have been on that post and would have been the victim of this crime."

So, will this end up being a murder of someone who happened to be gay, or a murder of someone because he was gay? The problem is that the GLBT community mistrusts the military, which has certainly had more than enough cases of gay-bashing and associated coverups. If Provost was killed in an anti-gay hate crime, no one expects the Navy to admit it. So regardless of what they say, expect outrage in the GLBT community.

And regardless, thanks to DADT, Provost's partner back in TX heard about his murder from a reporter. Because Provost could not tell the Navy who his family was, since that would be "telling".

It seems to me the issue is not with the GLBT service people. It's with the shelter the military gives to the haters. They will recruit gang members and felons now, but not a straight-A student who is gay. Time Magazine picks up the story:
The murder last week of an apparently gay sailor at California's Camp Pendleton has raised new questions over the readiness of the armed forces to accept openly homosexual personnel....Provost's murder comes almost 10 years to the day that Army Private First Class Barry Winchell was killed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, after he was suspected of being gay. Gay activists argued at the time that an antigay climate at Fort Campbell played a role in Winchell's July 6, 1999, murder; the soldier convicted of his killing was sentenced to life in prison.

“When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
— the tombstone epitaph of decorated Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich.

Update a new website launching on this issue:

Cartoon from Slate


James said...

This whole DADT is simply shameful.

Cany said...

IT... please visit and read the newest info from today on DADT... at my blog.

Movement... at least the very beginning of same... finally.