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Author Topic: Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Gays & the military--ARCHIVED  (Read 105326 times)

Offline Willhoite

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2006, 02:21:07 PM »
When I was living in N. Hollywood in 1984, I worked for a temporary job agency as an office clerk in a files department down in a different section of LA. A guy who had been a temporary secretary for the lady who was over the department ended up joining us who were doing files conversion.

Larry was openly gay, too. He told me that he had been in the US Army and he had a lover relationship with his company commander (CO). When his CO got transfer orders to another unit, Larry decided that he would just tell the Army that he was gay so that he could move to be where his lover was. And in doing so, he got discharged from active duty. I am not sure what his official status was after he did that; but, I know that he didn't care.

It used to be that if a person was discharged because of homosexuality, either by sexual activity or just by admitting it, it would put a bad mark on his record and keep him from getting a good job in civilian life. But, anymore that does not matter. Unless it is for a civil service job, one's actions while on active duty have no bearing on one's employment.
" . . . he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream . . . it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong."

Offline billneill

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2006, 03:43:46 PM »
First things first, BBM is NOT a gay film and NEITHER of the boys are gay! You may loose your virginity with one insertion, but you are not gay with one or more experiences with the same sex when you are ALSO a practicing heterosexual. The term is BISEXUAL. And no, it is not for cash, that is buysexual!

Lets clear this up. I am 70 and have been gay all my life, from 5 years on. Yep, I reached out and touched someones things back in the 1940s and was well into it in the 1950s, what a ride.

I joined the military because that is where the boys are! I did so good, had so much and so many, worked wonders for my promotions. I finished my tour of duty and was discharged.

So, I went to visit my service mates, all over the USA. What I could not understand was that they did not want anything to do with me. Why? I did not understand at all! My service mates had a need that was then, but was not the same later.

Frank, that was then, this is now, and the boys in BBM are just two men in a situation of mutual need that grows, and grows, and finally, morphs into something entirely different that it was at first.

Ennis would still be married to Alma had she not seen him with Jack! Think about it. Ennis is not the villain here, it is Alma, who has reservations and decided that a divorce was required. Her emotions simply could not be shared in a triangle.

Offline All4one

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2006, 04:21:18 PM »
That makes her a villain? Are you kidding? ???
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Offline Darwin Dee

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2006, 07:42:21 PM »
Wow you're 70? I'm 22, well met over the generation gap!

Ennis would still be married to Alma had she not seen him with Jack! Think about it. Ennis is not the villain here, it is Alma, who has reservations and decided that a divorce was required. Her emotions simply could not be shared in a triangle.

Alma is no villain, maybe victim but not villain. Actually i think everybody is a victim in the situation. They are coping as best they can with a situation they have no prior experience of and thus don't know how to handle it. Given this i think they do admirably. Alma and Ennis raise two stable and bright kids! That makes them heroes in my book!

Also I think Ang Lee makes it clear that Ennis is no longer interested in Alma sexually and this is the final straw for her. Hence the divorce.

I am bisexual and I was struck by the complexity of the emotional stories in the film, I liked that there were no villians, just people being and becoming...

The world is not black and white, there are no heroes or villains, just differing points of view.  :o


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Offline gn411

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2006, 10:06:02 AM »
When I was living in N. Hollywood in 1984, I worked for a temporary job agency as an office clerk in a files department down in a different section of LA. A guy who had been a temporary secretary for the lady who was over the department ended up joining us who were doing files conversion.

Larry was openly gay, too. He told me that he had been in the US Army and he had a lover relationship with his company commander (CO). When his CO got transfer orders to another unit, Larry decided that he would just tell the Army that he was gay so that he could move to be where his lover was. And in doing so, he got discharged from active duty. I am not sure what his official status was after he did that; but, I know that he didn't care.

It used to be that if a person was discharged because of homosexuality, either by sexual activity or just by admitting it, it would put a bad mark on his record and keep him from getting a good job in civilian life. But, anymore that does not matter. Unless it is for a civil service job, one's actions while on active duty have no bearing on one's employment.

As of 2000, the year I retired from the Navy,  Individuals discharged for being gay were given an "admin" discharge.  This type of discharge has no negitive conotations.  One could be discharged "Admin" for any number of reasons. 

Offline gn411

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2006, 10:07:32 AM »
oops my response showed up in the quote, sorry, here goes:

As of 2000, the year I retired from the Navy,  Individuals discharged for being gay were given an "admin" discharge.  This type of discharge has no negitive conotations.  One could be discharged "Admin" for any number of reasons

Offline Willhoite

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2006, 12:07:41 PM »
oops my response showed up in the quote, sorry, here goes:

As of 2000, the year I retired from the Navy,  Individuals discharged for being gay were given an "admin" discharge.  This type of discharge has no negitive conotations.  One could be discharged "Admin" for any number of reasons

When you quote an original message, type your response after the last bracket thing with "/quote" in it.

My younger sister was in the WACs before I was drafted. She got out with a "General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions" (I think that was the way that it was worded). And because she was a Vietnam Era Veteran, she gets her Social Security Disability Pension supplemented with a VA Non-Service-Connected Disability Pension. That type of VA pension is sort of like Social Security's SSI payments because it guarantees a mininum income for a veteran.

I actually get the same total amount of money that she gets; except now I am not on SS disability because I am 63 and my SS benefits are actually less than hers for a number of reasons.

It used to be that one had to be from the Vietnam Era to get the VA pension of that type; but, if a person is getting less than the total amount of what the VA pension pays from Social Security and he (or she) is on Social Security, the person can ask for the VA benefit supplement, too. Years ago, on America Online, I helped a man in his 70s who was a WWII vet get that help to add to his income. Ben ended up getting some other benefits which he did not expect. Ben was not gay; but, he had a nephew whom he loved very much who was. I affectionately called him, "Uncle Ben" and I called his sister, Margaret, the mother of the gay man, my "Cyber Mom." We not only communicated on the internet; but, we talked on the phone a number of times, too.
" . . . he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream . . . it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong."

Offline csean97

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2006, 12:55:29 PM »
Ah, a subject near and dear to my heart.

Back in 2000, I spent 5 months working on a series for Salon called "Don't ask, don't tell, don't fall in love." Best thing I've ever written.

Links at the top of this page, if you're interested:

http://blogs.salon.com/0001137/stories/2003/06/16/linksToSomeOfMyBetterPublishedWork.html

(And I can give a brief update on the three captains, if people are interested.)

Just noticed this thread today, and just finished reading your Salon story.  Very affecting; it deserves wider disemination.  So many times I've seen TV coverage of vets returning home.   Most of the time the cameras focus on the straight couples in mid embrace; but then there are times when I've noticed a lone soldier, and have wondered if he was possibly military gay.  Which gets to your observations of the particular pain military gays suffer when separated from their partners and no support systems available to either of them.  I will mention a book I read years ago ... "Wingmen" by Ensan Case (Paperback: 408 pages, Publisher: Avon (1979), ISBN: 0380476479).  IMO, a wonderful, romantic, story of two US Navy fighter pilots, set against the background of WWII.  For anyone with gay/military interests, I highly recommend it; unfortunately, it is apparently a rare paperback, and bookfinder.com lists it at $65.  I've always thought Wingmen was film worthy; more so than "The Front Runner".  But impossibly expensive to produce.

Offline SYC

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2006, 05:55:19 PM »
First things first, BBM is NOT a gay film and NEITHER of the boys are gay! You may loose your virginity with one insertion, but you are not gay with one or more experiences with the same sex when you are ALSO a practicing heterosexual. The term is BISEXUAL.

Ennis would still be married to Alma had she not seen him with Jack! Think about it. Ennis is not the villain here, it is Alma, who has reservations and decided that a divorce was required. Her emotions simply could not be shared in a triangle.

Bill, tell us what you really think!! lol. 

Well, I couldn't disagree with you more.  BBM is a gay film.  Jack is gay.  Ennis is probably bisexual, but in my book that's still gay.  The fact that Ennis would be married to Alma if he wasn't caught has nothing to do with sexuality.  It's because Ennis is trapped in a culture that won't allow him to express himself, explore his sexuality, or spend time with the person he loves.  Ennis is not the villain.  Alma is not the villain.  And if I were Alma I wouldn't want to be in a triangle either. 

Your experiences in revisting your army buddies is valid.  But did you really expect 100 percent of the guys who fooled around with you to start living a gay life once they were out of the army?  Many of them just filled a need, like you said, and lean mostly toward heterosexuality.  Some were probably strongly gay, and out of those, some are in denial and others faced up to it and put the shingle out.  In a perfect world, full of equal choices and rights, the percentages of course would drastically change. 

In regards to the military issue.  I don't know anyone in the military.  So I don't know if this thread is appropriate for me.  However, I did want to say that I thought this war might have a small silver lining by helping bring respect to those who did not have any before the war.  Women were struggling in that respect.  People still thought they shouldn't fight, or if they do, they deserve to be raped.  My local paper did a nice story with glossy pics of these incredibly tough and great-looking girls in army gear and flight suits.  It send an important message, I think.  The Jessica Lynch thing was positive in that sense too.  Nobody said, the bitch deserved her legs broken.  The media made her (falsely it turned out) to be a hero, because their zeal was so high to praise anyone who was fighting the good fight. 

Well, guess what, gays and lesbians are fighting the good fight too.  Melissa E has a pretty good song about one of the guys on the plane who rushed the terrorists being gay.  Gays issues were starting to surface...like what benefits do the domestic partners of gays who died in the towers get.  There was that whole ask don't tell policy going into the war.  I really, really thought that gays would benefit from a national conversation to naturally develop from this.  Like Rosie the Riveter (sp) coming out of the kitchen after WWII, I imagined gay heros coming back from Iran and Afghanistan being applauded for their service, and people saying - hey, they're willing to die for a country that spits on them-- let's give them their damn civil rights.  But it hasn't happened.  I don't know if it's because of the fundamentalists or what.  But what a lost opportunity that is.



Offline aintnoreins

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2006, 04:20:05 PM »
as a current girlfriend of a (male) marine... i can definitely say that i know of a number of bisexual female marines, and i've heard a LOT of stories of homoerotic tensions among male marines who are otherwise "perfectly straight"...

it's such an interesting phenomenon to me. i grew up going an all-female catholic school where there was CRAZY lesbian tension (and sometimes, er, more than just tension... not that i was involved or anything  ;)  :D), and i wonder what the correlative is among military men and women. thanks for the insight so far, from everyone...
and UCMJ be damned.
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Offline trauma@62

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Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2006, 03:16:22 AM »
Something that has bothered me  ----  I wanted to post on REUNION SCENE thread but was overwhelmed trying to surf 2,100 + messages to see if this has already come up.  Then, on site map, I was finally led to this thread.  This is a truly awesome website.

At my age, I am technologically challenged and don't know how to quote from prior posts  :-[

Anyway here goes with my first post to this board.

Ennis, Jack, and myself were all 19 back in 1963.  The REUNION occurred 4 years later.  1967 was a banner year for me, too.  Call it sex-envy if you will, but I came to be a bit miffed when it occurred to me that just at the very time Ennis and Jack were romping at the motel and on the mountain, I was being drafted into the U S Army, having lost my student deferment.  Since I couldn't imagine either Ennis or Jack having such a deferment, this has bothered me.  How can a story be told about two young men in this time and place without addressing the issue of compulsory military obligations???? 

I do appreciate Willhoite's attempts to account for this anomaly.  After 40 years, I have kind of forgotten exact details of Selective Service regulations in place way back then.  I do remember there was a "married with child/ren" classification that put a man further down on the list of eligibles. Don't know how Ennis managed to avoid draft for so long but I can kind of see that it could be possible, but Jack with a qualifying injury still seems to me a bit too far-fetched.

So, how do you think a stint in the military affect behaviour or attitudes or perceptions of either Ennis or Jack?  Someone has already thought about Jack.  You might want to take a look at this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fQnCnfluHY&search=Brokeback%20Mountain%20Heath%20Ledger%20Jake%20Gyllenhaal%20james%20blunt%20Ennis%20del%20mar%20jack%20twist%20gay%20goodbye%20my%20lover%20video%20montage

It's a 4' 38" video entitled "Jack's in the Army -- Brokeback Mountain: The Continuation"  Quite frankly, I regard it to be more of an interruption than a continuation of the story.  I do not like it, but others seem to think it adds something.  So I post the link solely in the spirit of contributing something to this thread.

Thank you Willhoite and everyone else for reading this.

Offline jim ...

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Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2006, 05:45:21 AM »
welcome trauma@62 to the forum.  We're glad you've joined us with this first post.  Your question about how serving in the military would have affected Jack and Ennis is interesting.  Although this thread I believe it geared more to the military of today and its policies, I don't know of any other thread on the board where your question would fit!  Being so, we'll leave it here and see what others have to say!  Thanks again for joining us.

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Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2006, 01:58:06 PM »
Ok I wasn't born then but I'll try to answer the military question about Ennis & Jack. In the motel scene Jack says the Army rejected him because he was too busted up. As for Ennis he was married with small children and I think men like that didn't get drafted? I'm not sure.

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Offline kaboyz

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Re: If the army don't get me: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2006, 05:46:20 PM »
as a current girlfriend of a (male) marine... i can definitely say that i know of a number of bisexual female marines, and i've heard a LOT of stories of homoerotic tensions among male marines who are otherwise "perfectly straight"...

it's such an interesting phenomenon to me. i grew up going an all-female catholic school where there was CRAZY lesbian tension (and sometimes, er, more than just tension... not that i was involved or anything  ;)  :D), and i wonder what the correlative is among military men and women. thanks for the insight so far, from everyone...
and UCMJ be damned.

Interesting point...I was in a Southern military fraternity and let me tell you the homoerotic tensions were INSANE.  All I can say is that I would imagine it would be exactly the same for males in the military.  For me, it was a difficult time, falling hard for guys I was 'somewhat' sexually involved with but they were 'perfectly straight'.
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Offline fritzkep

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Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Gays, friends, and the military
« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2006, 09:20:44 AM »
Ennis, Jack, and myself were all 19 back in 1963.  The REUNION occurred 4 years later.  1967 was a banner year for me, too.  Call it sex-envy if you will, but I came to be a bit miffed when it occurred to me that just at the very time Ennis and Jack were romping at the motel and on the mountain, I was being drafted into the U S Army, having lost my student deferment.  Since I couldn't imagine either Ennis or Jack having such a deferment, this has bothered me.  How can a story be told about two young men in this time and place without addressing the issue of compulsory military obligations???? 

I was drafted in 1970 and had been following the draft for quite a while before my number came up, literally (153)!

Before the lottery, there was a series of deferments, and Ennis, married in 1963 with two small children, would have been deferred by 1967, when the draft was heating up, without any great difficulty. That deferment would have been pretty routine. Alma was not working at the time, so he would have been the sole support of the family. He wasn't divorced until 1975, by which time the draft had been ended.

As for Jack, he probably had enough problems with his back, muscle strains and broken bones to get a medical deferment. He would have had to have proven his medical condition through a doctor's statement, but again that would not have been difficult to get. He could have encounted doctors during his rodeo tournaments, since there would have always been one standing by. The Army did not want to draft people with preexisting medical conditions, have these conditions exaggerated or worsened through physical conditioning, then be discharged and receive a government stipend because of the injury. Think of Joe Namath with his knees back in the 60's. He was in excellent physical shape for the most part, but he was deferred because the Army did not want to be obliged to discharge him in case he developed further problems with his knees during Army service. It was relatively easy to get a medical deferment until the late 60's, when the Selective Service started cracking down.

Hope this helps. I find Jack and Ennis as patriotic as any rural boys that you would find in that era.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 07:43:57 PM by fritzkep »
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