Army sergeant Robert Stout is a brave man. Not only did he spend time in the heat of battle, and was wounded in Iraq, but he has the incredible courage to stand up for his sexuality. And the balls to publicly call for change in the Pentagon’s outdated “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Now that’s courage, especially considering the rampant spread of open disdain for the rights of gays anywhere, including the hateful bans on marriage between two loving people.
But the Army has told him to keep quiet. Wow, how patriotic. Here’s a soldier who has earned a purple heart, and who wants to continue to serve his country, and risk his life, and the best they can do is shoosh him. “Don’t embarrass us!” Well, it’s time the American armed forces catch up with the rest of the world. Almost any other country’s military service rules allow openly gay personnel. And so far, there have been no reports of nellie queens running around the front lines. (Actually, maybe this administration should consider “nellie” training as a diversionary tactic! Can you imagine, a battalion of Queens in spandex leopard skin tights, sunglasses, huge hats, and attitude to stop any terrorist in their tracks!!)
Stout says he’s openly gay among most of his platoon. And he says there are many gay men serving, but most are afraid or just hassled by the oppressive and un-necessary policy.
These days, the army is struggling to meet it’s recruiting goals. At the same time, though the discharges are fewer, they persist in letting good soldiers go. They are kicking out good men and women, just to be stubborn about it, against all rational evidence. And remember, it’s expensive to train these folks. That’s our tax dollars being wasted on a bigoted, old fart policy. Stout is optimistic when he says, “We’ve progressed past it both as a military and as a society.” I’d say we are still backsliding in general gay policy in this country. I hope his optimism has a chance to flower. He certainly deserves that reward for his courage. I salute Sgt. Stout.