The Price We Pay For Homophobia

Via VetVoice, one more reason to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

“The Pentagon plans to recruit more foreigners in a fresh effort to make up for chronic shortages of doctors, nurses and linguists available for wartime duty.

The Defense Department already draws from aliens living in the United States on green cards and seeking permanent residency. But under a trial program, it will now look to also recruit from pools of foreigners who’ve been living in the states on student and work visas, with refugee or political asylum status and other temporary visas.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has authorized the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to recruit certain legal residents whose critical medical and language skills are “vital to the national interest,” officials said, using for the first time a law passed three years ago. (…)

“”The services are doing a tremendous job of recruiting quality personnel to meet our various missions,” sometimes with bonus pay and tuition for medical school, said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy. But they haven’t been able to fill their need for 24,000 doctors, dentists and nurses in the Defense Department.

The Pentagon’s doctor and nurse corps remain 1,000 short of the numbers needed to treat all the military’s patients, and Carr said he hoped the program would fill the gaps.”

And yet, as VetVoice points out, the military keeps kicking out perfectly good doctors, dentists, nurses, and linguists because it doesn’t like their sexual orientation. This isn’t just unfair; at a time when we’re fighting two wars and short of trained personnel, it’s stupid.

Frankly, I wish the military would revise its physical requirements altogether: they are just full of bizarre manifestations of the idea that the military should be the guardian of sexual and genital normalcy. As I’ve noted before, the Army’s Standards of Medical Fitness hold that in men, “Current absence of one or both testicles, either congenital (752.89) or undescended (752.51) is disqualifying.” (p. 10) If someone could tell me precisely what military duties an undescended testicle might interfere with, I’d be very grateful. (And don’t point out that undescended testicles come with an increased risk of cancer later in life. The Army does not disqualify recruits who smoke.)

Until then, I’d rather the military accept the best people available for its various jobs, regardless of sexual or gender orientation, partial or total hermaphroditism, undescended testicles, or anything else that does not affect their capacity to do their jobs.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!