Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military in reference to my own life

When I was a senior in college I recall that I lost my faith in what a college degree could do for me.  Instead I felt that it was necessary for me to 'testify' to the head of my department just how this disillusionment was affecting my will to keep on taking classes to 'fulfill my requirements.'  Why had I lost my faith?  It mostly had to do with the two most prominent professors in the English and Theater departments. I had at first been going to major in English, but a disillusioning thing happened with that. By far the most important professor I had was a published writer and poet I had concluded might have secret homosexual leanings which of course he would not have been able to surface in Mormon Utah where the possession of a wife was the safest route for employment and advancement at the University. The professor was married and had three children, but he had a great deal to do with the school literary magazine and with his favorite student writer who was published every issue  that I had just gotten to know.
The student had married and quickly divorced a freshman student in my dormitory who had gotten pregnant.  She seemed heart broken and never seemed to understand what had gone wrong.  The poet who introduced me to the promising student writer said that this girl just did not understand him, he had such an astounding intellect, and he could not endure the marriage another second.
Well, I found the student to be brilliant and fascinating all right.  He was a veteran, ten years older than I, going to college on the G.I. Bill.  He had simply read everything.  I started reading the literary magazines so I could get acquainted with his work.  I thought he was a far more advanced writer than I was at 18, now a college sophomore. I did not know how I could be expected to compete with him, even though I had always been a top English student in my high school English classes reading more books than practically anybody, and certainly writing a good deal more, too.
The more I listened to the professor lecture in the classes I took from him the more I thought he might be inclined to homosexuality, but simply a married man out of the necessity of appearing respectable and normal, especially in Mormon Utah.  But I didn't think too much about it.  I was very familiar with the phenomenon since I had thought since I was five years old my father was one of these men.  I had also noted any number of other men, mostly among his drinking companions, I thought were living the same way. 
So I figured that the professor might be half way in love with his fascinating student.  I noted that the student did not show one single spark of passionate interest in me.  He was simply devoid of it, so I concluded that his feelings went almost entirely to members of his own sex.  The poet who had introduced to me hinted that a talented young freshman poet, male,  had been in love with him and had a nervous breakdown when he married the female student.  He thought he had lost him forever and left college.
I was okay with this until suddenly one day this older student told me that he had a secret he wanted to tell me, but I must promise not to tell anyone.  I could not imagine what it was, but I promised.  He said that he was in love with me!  I was astounded and I must confess a little bit frightened of his calculating certainty that I would be charmed.  He had never even touched me!  I just could not figure this out, but I figured he had some kind of cold blooded seduction in mind, as I knew he had ambitions to become a college professor.  Perhaps he thought that I with my love of books would be a more appropriate wife than the other girl had been, so he had better get going on the task of acquiring a wife which might make his professorship an easier goal to attain!
He was ten years older than I was, a veteran.  He had killed people, I suspected! He was dangerous.  I dreamed one night that he reached out to touch me, and as I held my hand out to him he turned into Lucifer, the Father of Lies.
I figured I would never be able to charm the professor who loved his talent so much, either, so I decided to switch my major to the theater department.
I was really not surprised when the head of the theater department exhibited signs of  having a sexual split in his personality of long duration.  He was in theater!  What else could I expect?  He was a famous director of Shakespeare.  While I was trying out for big parts, a Mormon missionary who was obviously having a crisis about his sexual identity, came into the program, and I witnessed a man falling head over heels in love, even though the head of my department was a man in his fifties and the Mormon Missionary probably around 25.  He could not lavish enough parts on him.  His eyes practically glowed when he was in his presence. While he barely noticed me.
In fact he tried to avoid talking to me as much as possible. Well, I was getting sick of being treated like a second class student just because I was female. I had up to this point never managed to tell anyone I thought my dad was gay.  To do so would have seemed down right dangerous to me.  In fact, I think if I had actually accused my dad of such a thing, he might have tried to murder me.  So I had also kept secret the fact that one of men I thought he was having an affair with later molested me when their affair went sour and he got very angry at my dad.  I was only five at the time, but I was being forced to face realities that most women did not face, including my mother who I also could not tell because I could see she did not suspect my dad was gay!
She simply did not know enough about homosexuality. I doubt if she even believed men actually had sex with each other at the time she married him, at only 18 years old.  And she was a big reader, too, but then hardly any novelists talked about homosexuality, so there were not many places she could have gotten an education about what it was.
The hired man had educated me about what a pedofile was that was for sure.
So I was sick of these men.  A degree.  What would a degree mean when I was being taught by consummate liars, willing to perpetuate the idea that homosexuality did not exist.  Well, I could hardly blame them, they were married and had to earn a living to take care of their wives and children. It was society itself I blamed, stupid society that tried to keep the whole subject of homosexuality under wraps even though women were constantly being exploited by it, because men were expected to marry, and of course they could not tell.  So the women and children were generally kept in abysmal ignorance.
My God, I said to myself I am going to do something about this.  I decided I would try to get my professor told what I thought of homosexual professors and a society that demanded the dont ask dont tell policy just about everywhere I went, in my community, among married men, at the high school among single lesbian teachers, at the University, let us all act like it does not even exist!  Oh, we want to educate people, but not about that.
My mother certainly needed an education before she went out and married a guy 8 years older because she thought he had good prospects.  I could already have taught a class in how to recognize a homosexual man wanting to take advantage of your ignorance.
My poor college professor was already ill with ulcers (no wonder) and would indeed have to retire after I left, so he evaded me as much as possible and decided to send me to the school psychiatrist, who I found out later was a Mormon.
He probably could not even have handled what my problem was. Instead he observed me for no more than a minute during which I managed to convey some of my message to him, believe me I had gotten very cunning at that, and he called for an armed guard!  I scared him. He had never run into anyone like me in his life.  He thought a good round of electric shock would be just the treatment for a female so not passive.  No, I was not another passive female keeping my eyes down.  When I met up with him, he asked me 3 questions in a bored manner, I thought completely obtuse, hopeless, so I held his eyes and did not answer!
It was probably one of the most shocking things that had ever happened to him.  Such defiance from a young female, just twenty.  She had to be insane to act like this.
I must say I did not know that he would snatch me into custody and lock me up.  That did take me by surprise.  After that things got very serious, and I had almost been killed by the time I got out of the psych ward. But I kept them from giving me electric shock! By willing myself to die.  Yes, you heard me.  They were that hard to impress.  Everybody in there was getting it.  They weren't going to let me get away. It was a battle of wills right down to the end. When they saw I really was going to die if they didn't let me go,  they gave in.
I was not going to let anyone convince me that I was insane because I resisted the dont ask dont tell policy regarding homosexuality at the University. Do you know I never even got that issue discussed the whole time I was in there.  I told them I got molested, but I didn't get to the part about thinking my dad was gay.  I just figured I was lucky to get out alive. I didn't want to press my luck.
So do I think they should have repealed the dont ask dont tell policy regarding gays in the service?  Hell yes!  Why do heterosexuals favor lies?  Why does John McCain for that matter prefer people keep quiet which is a lie of omission. What does he not understand about the lie of omission?
Harvey Milk was assassinated in San Francisco when he was elected their first gay mayor because he told gays to tell everybody they were gay, just get it out, tell your father, your mother, tell people who don't want to hear it because you will never be able to progress without telling the truth about yourself! Amen to that.
But progress sometimes comes at a very high price.  Ask Harvey Milk!

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