Let's just say that I spent a fair bit of time in my youth in social and work settings where the heterosexual was well in the minority now and then - therefore I have a fairly good gaydar. Anyway....now that that is out of the closet (see, it is so much fun if you have a sense of humor about it), there is an interesting bit in Der Spiegel about where the Brits are seven years into allowing gays to openly serve. I'm just glad they found a RAF guy.
"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.' "Face it, we have Commanding Officers who are working on wife #3. We have some who are married to their former 3rd Class Yeoman he first hooked up with during Fleet Week when married to wife #1 with whom he had 2 kids with waiting at home. We have Commanding Officers who have 260# wives who snarl at their hubby in front of the Sailors like he is a little boy. We have Commanding Officers who are married, yet their wife is in another time zone and they almost never see each other. We have Commanding Officers who never, and I mean never, have a date with any women. Do not have an interest in any social relationship outside work - male, female, or otherwise. We have Commanding Officers who give me the willies whenever they put on civilian clothes and try to mix with the taxpayers - so this isn't about "family values." The Constitution doesn't have an asterisk next to "equal protection." And though Queer is defined as strange in the dictionary - if being strange was a disqualifier for service then we would have no one to run our nuclear powered ships.
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.
Is the fact that your Skipper skips lightly to work make him any less of a Commanding Officer than any of the above?
I have come to terms with the fact that unquestionably when the next Democrat becomes the chief executive, and 50/50 chance the next Republican - that gays in the military will be allowed to come out of the closet. Send them to my UIC, fine with me.
Once the news is out there, the gay Royal Air Force squadron leader said, the issue gets subsumed by the job at hand and by the relentless immediacy of war.The only down side for me though, is I think when the Diversity Bullies get hold of the issue, they will find a way to rub it in everyone's face. Use gays as another way to justify their existence. Acceptance won't be enough. The loud minority of gay service members will want to use their government status to make it a festival of their gayness - but oh well, with a sense of humor and a willingness to ignore it, you can get over it. The Brits have had that problem.
At one point, his squad was working with a British Army unit. "I wouldn't go into a briefing room and face them and say, 'By the way, I'm gay,' " he said of his British Army counterparts. "Frankly, I don't think they were worried, because we were all focused on doing a very, very hard job."
He recalled something his commander had said, when advising him to come out to his squad:
"The boss said, 'I think you will be surprised that in this day and age it will be a complete anticlimax, because as far as I'm concerned, homosexuals in the military are yesterday's news.' "
The British military actively recruits gay men and lesbians and punishes any instance of intolerance or bullying. The Royal Navy advertises for recruits in gay magazines and has allowed gay sailors to hold civil partnership ceremonies on board ships and, last summer, to march in full naval uniform at a gay pride rally in London. (British Army and Royal Air Force personnel could march but had to wear civilian clothes.)Anyway, the gay couple at the Hail & Farewell is coming your way Shipmate, and they will be in the Spouses Club too. As a leader, you need to think about how you are going to deal with it - and get the most out of your gay Sailors who are there to serve their nation. Me? First Command event after they take off the closet door; they sit at my table. No question the jokes, conversation, and drink selection will be fabulous.