One of the new features I added to A Guy Without Boxers this year is the guest blogger series, where fellow same gender loving bloggers, who may or may not be social naturists/nudists, are invited to contribute here. The twofold purpose of this addition is to offer a variety of perspectives on different topics and to introduce new authors to those reading this site.
Dom publishes the blog, Dom’s Mind (click to view). I presented him to you on a recent post, here. He’s both active duty military and gay, stationed in the Pacific Ocean command. An extremely gifted writer, he’s also a great guy to know as I’ve learned from collaborating with him for this post. I recommend that you visit his site. You will not be disappointed.
Background: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was the popular name for the official U.S. policy towards GLBT people serving in the military from 1994 until it was repealed by President Barack Obama in December, 2010. It was both discriminatory and restrictive, a veiled federal act that sanctioned second-class citizenship for all same gender loving American people.
U.S. MILITARY LIFE AFTER DADT:
A Personal Honest and Naked Look of Life After Repeal
Note: Images contained in this article below (exception: Marine Corps emblem) are property of the author and may not be used without permission.
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
These are the words that every member of the Armed Forces of the United States must swear before they head to their basic training and officially start their career as a Soldier, Airman, Seaman or Marine. These words hold an unimaginable weight and have a binding contract that is both punishable under a separate set of laws and calls for an individual to put his or her life second to the wellbeing of their country.
With such an immense commitment required of an individual, it is hard to believe that when I joined the Marine Corps in 2009, I could not openly display my sexuality due to the repercussions that may have befallen me because of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. Under DADT, an openly gay or bisexual service member could be discharged for getting married to a person of the same-sex, being openly gay, or even speaking of their homosexual relationships, and I have seen several service members discharged under this policy.
DADT was not completely one-sided, it kept any serviceman and woman from asking another about his or her sexuality under the penalty of discharge and loss of benefits. Also, service members were not allowed to commit homosexual acts with the intent of being discharged under the policy.
Sexuality is very personal, so personal in fact that I have always believed that just as we do not discriminate legally against religion, we should also not interfere with an individual’s ability to openly express their love for another. Whether it be holding hands, kissing, intercourse or marriage, whom a person chooses to love and how they appropriately choose to express it, should always be their right.
In 2011, DADT was repealed, the unimaginable relief that was felt by myself and other homosexual and bisexual service members was clear and apparent. I can recall reading stories of service members married the minute the policy was officially repealed. While I did not run out into the halls and pronounce my homosexuality to the world, I was glad I did not have to worry about my private affairs leading to my discharge from the Marine Corps looming in the back of my mind.
As always, the Marine Corps has its own unique approach to everything. The repeal of DADT did not become real to me until my Squadron First Sergeant pulled all the Marines, a couple of thousand of us, into a formation to address the repeal. His vulgar, comical and completely marine words have stuck with me since then.
“Marines, I know what you are thinking, it’s the apocalypse, gay guys are going to come parachuting from the sky and ass raping you! I’m here to let you know right now, that’s not going to happen. Gay men aren’t going to flood in and take over. Look to your left and right, a couple of you may have just looked at a gay Marine right now and not even known it.”
Laughs from the Marines
“Yeah, laugh it up, but it’s true. Most of you don’t have a problem with gay men when they are the little scrawny tight clothes wearing, girly ones, but when they are the big yoked motherfuckers on the bench in the gym, you somehow feel your manhood is threatened. We are all in this fight together, I don’t care what you do behind closed doors, and neither should you, keep it professional and there will be no problems.”
Going on three years later, I still keep those words in my mind and live by them. I am not in the closet, my family, close friends and even a few of my fellow Marines know my sexuality, but I have never been one to parade it around. If someone directly asks me, I will gladly tell them, but I also believe that work is not the forum for that type of conversation. Work is work, I personally have no desire to complicate it with my private issues and I am a lot more conservative than most when it comes to my sexuality.
A good friend of mine, a Sergeant, made quite the stir when he arrived here from his old unit in Japan. He arrived as an openly gay Marine and he was sure to make it known first thing. Like me, many of the other Marines had never dealt with an openly gay Marine in our Command. There were a few people I witnessed asking him if he was sure that was what he wanted to do, in regards to his openly telling his sexuality, to which he’d laugh and say yes.
The fear others expressed was that the Junior Marines would not respect a gay man. That somehow his sexuality would hinder his ability to demand respect and lead. Leading does not come from sexuality, though, it comes from a large combination of personality traits. His honesty was enough to make his Marines trust him and that was the foundation he needed to become one of their leaders.
Dom (left), clothes-free
His openness actually was a work of genius. Instead of making friends and later dealing with the mess of telling them he was gay, and hoping they’d stick around, he told us he was gay and saw who was still interested in his companionship. He used those bonds he then forged to grab all of the others and bring them in, once he showed there was nothing for them to fear and disproved some of their stereotypes and prejudices. Of course a few of the less comfortable straight men didn’t and don’t talk to him outside of the line of work, but for the most part a vast majority of the unit doesn’t care, he’s a part of the family just like anyone else. This speaks volumes about how Marines treat their own; we are all brothers.
It is one thing to say that society is changing and that little by little, the world is becoming more accepting, but to witness Marines, some of our nation’s most feared warriors, put aside their prejudices and work alongside and respect an openly gay man says a lot. I have met several other openly gay Marines on base, their stories all fall along the same lines with my friend’s, honesty and being themselves was all it took. There will always be the few that just aren’t accepting their sexuality, but they are respectful of the rank that they wear and follow their orders with no issue.
With Hawaii being one of the newest states to legalize gay marriage and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), another victory for the LGBT community, especially for those of us in the military, I have had the privilege of being able to attend the weddings of gay service members.
It’s a great thing to know that I can walk out of my room and scream I’m gay from the top of my lungs and not have to worry about there being any repercussions other than a scolding from the tired, sleepy Marines here in the barracks. In ways I have been reassured that if I wanted to be completely open about my sexuality at work, I could do so and not be ostracized. I have even been a witness to a Marine confessing his sexuality in a drunken stupor and show up to work the next day and it was business as usual.
The repeal of DADT was only the beginning. DOMA fell shortly after. Same-sex spouses now get benefits in the military and legal bans against gay marriages are now being overturned. Our country is not perfect, but every step it takes to making changes that give the men and women of the LGBT community equal rights, it lives up to being the great country that I and so many other service members, regardless of sexual orientation, raised their hands and swore to protect.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * A Guy Without Boxers is very grateful to Dom for sharing this guest blogger feature. His experience gives many of us an insight into life in the U. S. Armed Forces now that DADT is a relic from this nation’s past. Much love and naked hugs, Dom! Welcome to your place of honor on the Page of Fame: Dare 2 Bare here! Congratulations!
Please remember to visit and follow Dom’s publication, Dom’s Mind. You’ll find many posts there discussing various aspects of our modern gay life.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!