Anorak News | Hello Sailor: Gays In The Military Help Morale

Hello Sailor: Gays In The Military Help Morale

by | 22nd, May 2007

516blqbc8hl_ss500_.jpgIN Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean, historian B. R. Burg investigates the social and sexual world of men on the ocean wave.

Homosexuality on the high seas, on in a fighting unit, has been the matter of heated debate. Gays in the military? As if! As if we can have just anyone dressing up in uniform, shooting things in the company of men.

Well, we can. We do. And – guess what – it’s not an issue. Although in the Land of the Free it is…

LONDON, May 20 — The officer, a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, felt he had no choice. So he stood up in front of his squad of 30 to 40 people.

“I said, ‘Right, I’ve got something to tell you,’ ” he said. “ ‘I believe that for us to be able to work closely together and have faith in each other, we have to be honest and open and frank. And it has to be a two-way process, and it starts with me baring my soul. You may have heard some rumors, and yes, I have a long-term partner who is a he, not a she.’ ”

Far from causing problems, he said, he found that coming out to his troops actually increased the unit’s strength and cohesion. He had felt uneasy keeping the secret “that their boss was a poof,” as he put it, from people he worked with so closely.

Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears — about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness — have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue…

Nonetheless, the issue is extremely delicate now. The military does not want to be seen bragging about the success of its policy when the issue can still cause so much anguished debate in the United States. This is particularly true in light of tensions between the allies after a British coroner ruled in March that a British soldier who died four years ago was unlawfully killed by an American pilot.

Posted: 22nd, May 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink