A Soldier’s Right: The Turmoil of Gay Servicemen in the Military
In the movie The Strange History of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the chronicle of a demographic of one of the most hidden and misrepresented group of people in America’s history is brought to a light so clear and yet so subdued, that you might wonder how this subject might have been considered an issue at all in our nation’s history. in an otherwise unrewarding societal role the story is incredibly evocative in its retelling of the struggle for free self identity many a homosexual soldier may have encountered in their service. In History of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, this story gay rights, and thus human rights, is brought to life by the rhetoric conveyed by each and every testimony, admittance and memory retold by a multitude of mostly gay veterans. In comparison to some of the more well known and documented civil rights efforts, I find that the concept of freedom to express one’s sexual orientation is an incredibly unique and intriguing effort, especially in the cultural context of the military. Overall, throughout the journey from taboo to awareness, the gay men and women who serve and who have served our country for centuries are given a voice in which to express the incessant and depraved attitude with which they were treated by the mighty and just United States government.
Debates about the place of LGBT people in American society have become a constant feature of public discourse. Though much of the focus of recent debates has been on the right to marry, the struggle of homosexuals to serve openly in the United States military has a long and conflicted history. The specific exclusion of LGBT people from the opportunity to serve their country -- as opposed to laws banning same-sex behavior -- was incorporated into the military's codes during WWII. Since the 1950s LGBT activists and veterans struggled to overturn these discriminatory policies.