Scroll To Top

Just say no to
Uncle Sam

Just say no to
Uncle Sam


No, it is not progress when the military turns a blind eye in order to send openly gay soldiers to die in Iraq. Quite the opposite. In fact, maybe all gays and lesbians should boycott serving our country until our country serves us

It's official. The United States wants us dead. Us being gays and lesbians. And that's about it.

Those in charge don't think we're fit to marry. Most don't think we should raise children or have legal rights where that's concerned. Hell, some states would simply outlaw our existence all together.

But die, well, that's OK. We can be fodder for political campaigns that divide the nation and, apparently, fodder to feed the terrorists in Iraq. It appears the U.S. military has forgotten its failed "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the case of Iraq. In fact, according to the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, the armed forces have forgotten their ban on gays and lesbians altogether where Iraq is concerned. Instead, the Army is telling commanders that even if soldiers come out loudly and proudly, they should be shipped off to the war zone.

Great. Debate us, humiliate us, ostracize us completely as far as the military is concerned during peacetime. But when trouble starts, oh, no, we're good enough now. Suddenly their worries of gay men molesting poor unsuspecting marines in the showers goes out the window. Their fears of butch lesbians forcing the petite, feminine ladies of the armed forces in to long-term relationships with U-Hauls, plaid, and cats are not as important as battling the terrorists who have taken root in the chaos the Bush administration has created in the Middle East.

What a disgrace, for the armed services, and for gays and lesbians.

There are those who say this is a good thing, that it will show those in charge that we are fit to serve alongside our nongay counterparts and that after Iraq things will change based on our valiant service and lack of any incidents, incidents those closed-minded bigots foretold in their tales of woe and horror about why gays and lesbians couldn't serve openly in the first place.

My experience tells me otherwise. My experience tells me that bigots and closed-minded individuals will let you sacrifice your life for them but will not repay in kind. They will let you uproot your world, complete their military tasks, and then afterward immediately remove your status of equality back to one of inferiority. Southerners let slaves fight for them. And many expected them to return to their servitude after the war.

The fact is, we shouldn't tolerate this. The fact is, we shouldn't serve at all. In fact, we shouldn't pay federal taxes, and we shouldn't pay state taxes in states that haven't at least tried to rectify the inequality under the law that exists for gays and lesbians.

Before we decide to serve our country, to fulfill our responsibility, our country needs to meet its responsibility to us. Before we offer up our lives, bodies, and souls to Uncle Sam, he needs to stop treating us like bastard stepchildren at a family reunion. Before we participate in George Bush's dirty little war, he needs to stop touring the country touting a constitutional amendment to create a second-class citizenry, particularly when he wants to amend a document that the founding fathers created to guarantee equality and protection for minority opinions.

The fact is, no one should be in Iraq, but least of all gays and lesbians. The democracy the United States is allegedly fighting for--the new, free Iraq--is actually a theocracy, based in Sharia law. Women barely have any rights, let alone gays and lesbians. In Iran, right next door, gays and lesbians get hanged or beheaded. In Iraq many would do much of the same to us. So we're serving in a military that doesn't normally want us in it, one that makes us serve in silence, and then are being sent to a country to fight for a new government there that again would seek only to oppress us should we live under it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

And it's time we stop sugarcoating it. Did Jefferson, Washington, Adams, and the rest say that the only way to win the battle for rights in America was as members of the British parliament or as Redcoats? A revolution was started over a tea tax; meanwhile, we are openly targeted by members of government for discrimination, refused the opportunity to serve as free, open human beings in our country's military, and we're supposed to continue buying in to it, being good little citizens, hoping one day it will change?

Say it with me: poppycock.

Yes, people will go to jail, or the brig. But it's time we start standing for something, because it seems these days gays and lesbians don't stand for much. Our organizations are too busy patting each other on the back, or worse, patting the backs of those nongays who don't oppress us or who actually vote with us for equality, to really do anything. It's appalling that the military says, "Hey, they're OK to die in the desert but not OK to live openly on base in San Clemente or Fort Hood or anyplace else." It is not all right that when these gay troops return home, their same-sex partners cannot even greet them in the same place others can greet their spouses. No, we have to wait for our loved ones to get to a general area; we're not allowed on board, on deck, or anyplace else to openly welcome home our partners. It's a national disgrace and it must stop. And we must stop it.

Just say no. Literally, just say no. Do not enlist. The military needs troops right now. They need us more than we need them. Do not enlist. If you are in the service, get out any legal way you can. And let it be known nationally that we're not IED fodder, we're not roadside bomb targets, and we're not American shrapnel to be blown about while our partners are denied any real benefits under military policy. It's time we let the United States know we're not going to lift one finger to defend a country that refuses to let us do so honestly, openly, with dignity.

We're not going to run off to their dirty little war and then, if we don't come back, have our partners shunned.

Gays in the military think they're doing some big patriotic duty. On the contrary, by letting this institution, this government, get away with this kind of behavior, we are buying into a spirit that is so un-American, so unpatriotic, that it sickens me. If the ban can be disregarded or lifted for Iraq, it can be removed permanently. But until that point, and until the point where our partners can live on base, where our unions are recognized on or off, although we're expected to pay for your weapons, to give tax dollars to pay the salaries of those who fight, we won't do the fighting.

Until you treat us as full Americans we won't act like it. And if you, those on the other side, don't like that philosophy, then change the rules. But we won't be blown up for you, we won't be shot at, we won't be shipped to a foreign land that wouldn't even let us live openly if we were civilians there and you do nothing, say nothing, to change that. Not once in any policy meeting, to the best of my knowledge, has gay rights been brought up in Iraq or its new constitution. And in our country they're trying to bastardize ours to dehumanize us.

No, Uncle Sam. You're the evil uncle that would molest us and not even give us the pleasure of a reach-around (to paraphrase that military classic, Full Metal Jacket). And that must stop. And we can stop it. Until our military grants us the same rights, until our country gives us equal footing, the only fatigues any self-respecting gay or lesbian should wear are to a theme party at a local club, and the only danger we should put ourselves in for our nation is the danger each of us feel each and every day in so many parts of the nation where living openly is enough to get you killed.

We have our own wars to fight at home. We don't need to fight yours in foreign lands for people that would behead us anyway. Keep your ban. We don't want to play your war games until we win major fights of our own.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Charles Karel Bouley II