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Austin Cline

Lesbians in the Military

By September 29, 2003

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There have been many critiques of the American military's exclusion of gays from its ranks. The much-maligned "don't ask, don't tell" policy, designed to offer some protection, has only resulted in more gays being kicked out (except when they are perceived as being needed, such as during combat operations). But why are lesbians excluded from the military?

This is a question the Eugene Volokh asks, noting that many of the reasons offered for the exclusion of gays generally (if you accept them) really only apply to gay men - not to gay women.

The main justification we've been hearing for excluding gay men is that if the soldiers in an all-male combat units have homosexual relationships, this can lead to favoritism, jealousy, and tensions that aren't present if the soldiers are all straight men. But whatever merit this argument may or may not have, it surely doesn't apply to lesbians, at least unless the military starts having all-female combat units.
What's more, lesbians might actually be more effective than straight women, because I take it that they have a much lower rate of pregnancy; and in a military which is more male than female, they are likely to account for fewer possibly tension-inducing sexual relationships than heterosexual women. Also, if the concern is that homosexual men are more likely to be carriers of sexually transmitted diseases than are heterosexual men, I take it that this concern too will not apply to lesbians.

The exclusion of lesbians both uses up resources (for investigation and dismissal) and ignores potential candidates who might have a great deal to offer. But in exchange for what? In what way is the effectiveness of the military increased by the absence of lesbians? It's not a clear-cut case that the effectiveness of the military is improved by the absence of gay men, but the case against gay women is even less credible.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason for excluding gay women isn't really based upon military effectiveness? And if that is true, then the reasons for excluding gay men will be open to question as well. Can't have that, can we?

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Comments
October 8, 2010 at 1:21 am
(1) sammi says:

Austin Cline!
Are you really this stupid!??? You must be gay! I served in the USMC and I am also a Christian. I would not feel comfortable AT ALL with a gay person serving by my side. I am a women and have had gay women friends! Every single one of them wanted to have a piece of me, if you know what I mean! They didnt have a problem telling me this! Men….Gay men…just act weird and bubbly and stare and talk to their gay friend about the guy with the nice ass! Do you GAYS really think we are that stupid!? I DO NOT believe that gay men and women should be voicterous about their sexual orientation! I say kick them out!

October 8, 2010 at 8:23 am
(2) Austin Cline says:

You must be gay!

Why?

I served in the USMC and I am also a Christian. I would not feel comfortable AT ALL with a gay person serving by my side.

Then you’re as bigoted as someone who would refuse to serve alongside women or blacks.

I am a women and have had gay women friends!

They can’t have been very good friends if you have such a low opinion of them.

Every single one of them wanted to have a piece of me, if you know what I mean!

You must have a really high opinion of yourself, if you imagine that every gay woman you’re near will want a “piece” of you.

They didnt have a problem telling me this! Men….Gay men…just act weird and bubbly and stare and talk to their gay friend about the guy with the nice ass!

And that’s all they ever do?

Do you GAYS really think we are that stupid!?

That depends… just how much stupidity is necessary to feed this level of bigotry?

I DO NOT believe that gay men and women should be voicterous about their sexual orientation!

Why not? You’re free to be “voicterous” about your bigotry.

I say kick them out!

Who is more trustworthy defending our liberties: the patriot or the bigot? The bigot doesn’t really believe in those liberties.

October 19, 2010 at 2:52 am
(3) Lisa says:

Wow! You must either be incredibly hot. I have many lesbian friends who have not told me of their desire to have sex with me. I guess I’m not attractive to them? Or maybe it’s that they, like all other people, are not attracted to everyone they meet. Are you attracted to every man you see?

October 19, 2010 at 7:15 am
(4) Todd says:

Sammi,

How can you be a women? Do you have multiple personalities?

Tell your imaginary lesbian friends what you said here. Tell them they don’t the same rights you have. Tell them the Constitution you swore to defend doesn’t apply to them.

October 20, 2010 at 12:02 am
(5) Bob says:

I have never been in the military I am glad to say. I think gays should be able to serve their country. However I must admit I would be uncomfortable sharing quarters with a gay man.

February 9, 2011 at 7:04 am
(6) terence says:

I have a suspicion that Sammi may be a closeted lesbian herself.

Why else would she search up this topic and leave a message like that if she wasn’t questioning her sexuality.

or

shes just a troll

April 3, 2011 at 8:32 am
(7) jessica says:

i believe having gays in the military is wrong… only because there is a lot of favoritism… i have lots of gay friends and i love them cause they are great…. but i know that they play favorites… and i am actually at a command now that there are a lot of lesbian women here… and they ALL stick together and play favorites…. im married…and they will not help me with anything or go out with me for drinks…they remain together… its either you are lesbian or you arent… and if you arent…you are sh*t out of luck…. they treat straight people very meanly… i dont like this politics in the work environment… i say kick them out…

April 3, 2011 at 9:18 am
(8) Austin Cline says:

i believe having gays in the military is wrong… only because there is a lot of favoritism…

And straight people never, ever show favoritism towards friends or other colleagues, right?

and i am actually at a command now that there are a lot of lesbian women here… and they ALL stick together and play favorites….

And the fact that they have had to hide their identity for so long couldn’t possibly be a reason why they stick together and have more affinity for one another.

im married…and they will not help me with anything or go out with me for drinks…they remain together…

How many straight, single people do this?

they treat straight people very meanly…

So they are friends and you “love them,” but they are “very mean”? Something in your story doesn’t ring true.

i dont like this politics in the work environment… i say kick them out…

Maybe you should be kicked out because you have so much trouble working with colleagues effectively. How do you rebut the conclusion that the problem here is you, not them?

July 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm
(9) jolene says:

My girlfriend has recently decided to join the military. (I am also a girl) I can assure you that both of us are literally terrified of what is going to happen. She can’t hide the fact she likes girls. Heck, she looks more like a guy than a girl anyway. The military is suppose to offer protection for for people, security, justice. If the military kicks out all the people who are deemed different, then there’s no wonder there’s still hate crimes against gays and lesbians in the country. To be kicked out because you like the same sex? Ridiculous. Maybe gays and lesbians should be put in the same quarters. But then shouldn’t blacks and jews and whites and all the other ethnicities be seperated too? Because I’m sure there is a lot of racism in the millitary too and I’m sure there are racist people who don’t want to be near a “different” person. Hatred against gays/lesbians is racism, something the military and government is suppose to protect. Home of the free? Really?

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