A CULTURAL LANDMARK
As of midnight last night the law preventing gay men and women in the military from serving openly was repealed. Like the repeal of segregation this social change will take some time before all prejudice and resentment can be eradicated – and among southern, redneck, Christian fundamentalist and the Catholics Church in general the resentment and violence toward someone with a different lifestyle will never relinquish.
However, in the military it will soon be a non-starter. The military is a unique organization and conforming to regulations and orders is an accepted way of life.
Many don’t know that during the Viet Nam war there was high racial tension and there was often violence between black and white service men. It got to the point that mission readiness was affected. After the war racial tension still existed in many commands. In the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations decreed that the any racial conflicts would be dealt with swiftly and firmly by commands and he established a training mission to bring about a better understanding between races. All active duty Navy personnel were required to attend a series of rights and responsibilities lectures and activities. There were those among the white sailors that tagged the training “Watermelon U.” I was a facilitator (instructor) for this training, which, along with the zero tolerance decreed by commanding officers of all Naval commands, brought about an end to both covert and overt displays of intolerance.
In a short time gay service in the military will be a non-issue for service personnel; however, outside the military the contention will continue – especially among military retirees continuing to live in their self-constructed past glories and among the far right Christian activist; and again, the Catholic Church.
The world moves on and many refuse to move with it.