Friday, September 23, 2011

Sexuality and Sex are Different (even for the gays)

I was going to let DADT's demise slip by without writing about it. I was thrilled to see it lifted, but aside from waving farewell, I didn't really have much to say about it. In 1993, it was better than screening for gays, but when the policy only punished those who told and not those who asked, that's pretty flawed. And also, the whole lying thing seemed bad. And losing thousands of soldiers who have been trained and served honorably is stupid and wasteful. With it passing, none of that mattered. I was just happy to see it go.

But this morning I clicked on a video that I couldn't leave without comment.




Regarding the booing, I know there will always be jerks out there and there will always be people willing to call to task "their" people when they behave badly. I'm quite sure my conservative friends will be condemning the booing of anyone in the US Military. I'll catch the folks on the left who do the same. It's tremendously upsetting, but that shit is best  dealt with in house.


I am not, however, going to let Mr. Santorum's statement go without comment. Because it speaks to a much larger, more common problem than booing a soldier.


Mr. Santorum said, "I would say that any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military."


You know what Rick? I agree.  And you know what else? Don't ask, don't tell had absolutely nothing to do with that in any way. 


Removing DADT did not give all of the gays and lesbians a free pass to go out and start bonking every soldier that they find attractive. 


Of course, Mr. Santorum knows this. But once again, he confuses the idea of sex and sexuality when it comes to LGBT folks. For some reason, when we talk about gays and lesbians, it's all about the sex. 


When we think about a straight married couple, we don't jump to that. We'll think about weddings, kids, jobs, dinners around the table, sitting on the couch together watching American Idol, coffee shared on a porch swing. You know, the stuff married people do 23 & 1/2 hours every day.


Think of a married gay couple and immediately it's about what they do in the bedroom. Rick Santorum laid it out pretty plainly here, but it's everywhere.


We don't want them to flaunt their sexuality (because if we see a straight couple holding hands, we immediately think of them doing the nasty, right?). We don't hate gay people, but we don't approve of their behavior (and since we probably don't care about the behavior of buying nice shoes, we likely mean the sex stuff). We swoon over Bridges of Madison County and balk at Brokeback Mountain (even though they're both tremendously boring movies about adultery). It's about sex. Sex, sex, sex.


But you know what? It's really not.


Lifting DADT simply means that everyone gets to be honest about the person they love back home. So the straight lady gets to show off pics of her husband and their kids. The gay guy gets to talk about his partner's new business venture. No one is obligated to say anything, but they don't have to be afraid of losing their job. They get to be more than SEX. They get to be husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends. They get to be people who are excited about their loved one's new pet or a new job opportunity or a new home purchase. They get to miss the person they love.


Maybe we can get some applause going for that.

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