My name is Paul Cross. I am a retired US Army
Sergeant First Class currently working as a civilian
contractor in Afghanistan.
Up until a few months ago, I didn’t give DADT much
thought. I’m heterosexual so it didn’t affect me (or so
I thought), therefore why should I care?
I read the news constantly, so I was
bound to notice a great many articles about DADT. I
hate being in the dark about important issues so I
decided to research the facts surrounding this
controversial issue and decide for myself whether DADT
should be repealed or not. During my research, I came
across a discussion forum called Gay/Lesbian Issues in
the Military. I read the opinions for and against DADT
and realized there is much more to DADT than what I’ve
always assumed. I’m willing to bet other straight
service members feel the same way as I did and are as
much in the dark as I have always been.
You see, I assumed (and I think many others still
assume) that DADT is a just law and a fair compromise
which allows gay and lesbian service members the honor
of serving in our military. I now know my assumption of
justice and fairness was wrong.
I found out that the justification for DADT is based on
the presumption that the presence of known gay and
lesbian service members would create an unacceptable
risk to the “morale, good order and discipline, and unit
cohesion” of our military.
From my personal experience both past and present, I
know that this is false. While I was in the military, I
served with known gay and lesbian soldiers on and off
throughout my 21 years of active duty. Almost every
single duty station to which I was assigned during my
career, we had at least one known homosexual service
member. They were all highly competent, intelligent,
and mature professionals. They did not cause any
negative affect on our morale, our good order and
discipline, nor our unit cohesion. Their sexuality was
never an issue; not even once. I was proud and honored
to have served with each one of them.
We shared barracks rooms and latrines together, worked
in the motor pool together, went to the field together,
deployed together. We did all this with known
homosexual soldiers, yet the squads and platoons I was
in were highly disciplined, our morale was superb, and
the soldiers were incredibly tight and extremely loyal
to each other; our cohesion was the envy of other squads
As I stated earlier, I am working in Afghanistan right
now as a civilian. Even though I know very few soldiers
around here since it’s not part of my job, I do know of
some homosexual service members working here on base.
Their fellow soldiers also know they are homosexual.
This fact has not caused any negative affects to their
units’ morale, good order and discipline, nor their unit
Furthermore, I have read there are 26+ other nations
whose militaries have homosexual service members serving
openly. I have heard of absolutely zero resulting
negative affects to their militaries’ morale, good
order, discipline, and cohesiveness.
All of these facts have convinced me without a doubt
that DADT is based on a false justification. There is
no logical or rational basis for this law. When a law
is unnecessary, harmful, of no discernable benefit, and
discriminatory, as DADT is; it is not the people’s
right, it is the people’s obligation to have it
The problem is that current service members who are gay
can’t fight for themselves without putting their careers
in jeopardy. They can’t testify on their own behalf.
We as straight service members and veterans owe it to
our comrades in arms to change this rule. Loyalty
demands that we stand up for them and any other service
member who is discriminated against.
DADT forces some of our service members to sacrifice
their integrity on a continuous basis. It mandates they
do not tell. I had assumed earlier that this “telling”
was literal. I thought that a person was only prevented
from making the actual statement they were homosexual.
I was unaware until recently that the act of “telling”
includes everyday routine situations, acts, and
behaviors I’ve taken for granted for years; such as
having a picture of my wife around, talking about my
wife, talking on the phone with her, emailing her,
bringing her to unit functions, having her meet me upon
redeployment, answering everyday questions about her.
I have heard proponents of DADT say all that’s needed is
for homosexual service members to merely avoid answering
any questions from their buddies. When confronted with
certain questions, they should tell half-truths,
“alternate truths” or “different truths”, evade, elude,
be vague, give false implications, and dodge questions
from their team and squad mates.
These are all forms of dishonesty. They’re just another
way of lying, that’s all. How dare we as leaders force
our soldiers to be dishonest? How dare we tell them
they must lie to their buddies but then contradict that
order by telling them we value integrity? I see now the
Catch-22 we put them into. I now understand we force
them into a moral dilemma. This is immoral.
When I was in from the early 80's to 2004, the
sections, teams, and squads that I was in were very,
very close knit. We rarely had a fellow team/squad
member who we did not know much about. We knew each
others’ wives/husbands/boyfriends/girlfriends, their
pets’ names, their moms, dads, their kids, what their
favorite color was, their brand of toothpaste, their
favorite MRE, their favorite song. Shoot, when I was
squad leader, I knew almost as much about my squad
members as I did my wife.
Yes, a homosexual service member could slip, dodge,
evade, elude, and be vague for a while but eventually he
either had to be honest, outright lie, or be deemed an
outsider, a snob, a loner, and not "part of the team" if
he kept to himself. If he didn’t trust his teammates
enough to be open with them, his teammates were hesitant
to trust him in return. That is just basic human nature.
Trust is just like respect in that way, you have to give
it to get it, in my experience.
If a homosexual avoided being open about himself it
would quickly be evident to his teammates that he was
dishonest and could not be trusted. Soldiers, sailors,
airman, and marines that I know have integrity and
values and they realize that lack of integrity within a
unit is a surefire way to lose the respect and loyalty
of those around them and seriously damage the morale and
cohesiveness of their unit.
When we force homosexual service members to lie to their
buddies, we are doing them a severe injustice. The vast
majority of them have a conscience and it therefore goes
against their values to constantly perpetuate a lie,
especially to their brothers-in-arms. This in turn
causes them undue stress to constantly have to withdraw
from and be evasive with their fellow soldiers. Hell, we
fight and kill and bleed right beside each other, share
each other’s terror, pain, frustration, homesickness,
tears, loneliness, and joy. There is no greater bond
than what soldiers in combat forge. DADT weakens that
very bond when it forces homosexuals to lie to their
fellow comrades-in-arms. That’s pretty damned pathetic.
This is a BIG reason why I think DADT is a huge
liability to our military and why it MUST go.
After reading and researching about DADT and the damage
it’s done, I can now say I have a hell of lot more
respect for homosexual service members than I did
before. Sure, we all have to put up with crap in the
military. We all have to sacrifice.
But knowing now what a homosexual service member has to
go through to serve his or her country leads me to
believe that they may have to have just a bit more
dedication than their hetero counterparts, just a bit
more of the values which we as a nation and as a
professional military esteem.
I say that homosexual service members must have a bit
more selfless service than heterosexual service members
because to serve their country, they have to either
sacrifice their integrity or deny themselves any
companionship. Why go thru all that heartache just to
help make their country safe? I sure as hell couldn't
live like that. That is truly selfless on their part.
Some proponents of DADT state they knew the rules before
signing up. I say they still volunteered IN SPITE of
these rules. This too is extremely selfless on their
part. That is yet another reason why we owe it to them
to repeal DADT so they don’t have to continue
They must have more personal courage: They have to
constantly live in fear of being outed and booted.
Risking so much to have the honor of serving your
country is a mark of true bravery.
They must have a greater sense of duty. They feel
compelled to give back to their country even though
their country still discriminates against them. That is
definitely a sense of duty and obligation as well as a
huge display of loyalty.
In short, maybe homosexual service members must have a
bit more honor than the rest of us in order to serve our
Basically what I’m saying is I have loads of respect for
them and would serve with them any day. I'd trust them
implicitly to watch my back and I’d guard their 6 as
well. They have honor.
As for DADT, many decent people want to change this
discriminatory law because it does some of our service
members a severe injustice by treating them as second
class citizens; because it is detrimental to our
military by denying us multitudes of highly competent,
intelligent, and patriotic men and women; because there
is no logical justification for this law, because it is
costly in terms of millions of dollars; and because it
goes against the values of equality and justice for all
which our country holds dear.
Gay Military Signal