All these studies and surveys about the effects of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell serve only to show one thing — something largely missed by the media and most of the public. They show how truly irrational many people still are about homosexuality. They’ve gotten ahold of the wrong end of the stick. We’re all supposed to worry about the reaction of bullies and bigots who fear gays. It never occurs to the hysterics to worry about the problem that actually underlies the bullying and the bigotry.
What the military has is a crisis of discipline. It is afraid it can’t make straights who fear gays behave. It is really not the behavior of gays that is causing the problem at all. We are being scapegoated because we are a minority, and minorities are always easy to blame. But in so doing, our military succumbs to a cowardice shamefully unbecoming to an organization built on courage.
It is like being afraid to leave your house because of the giant, carnivorous lavender rabbit you’re sure must wait outside. You must refuse all invitations to go anywhere, and warn all visitors away, because of that big, evil bunny. You must sneak out the back way and tiptoe past the threat if you wish to venture beyond the confines of your house. There is no meat-eating rabbit out there in reality, and all the sane people in your life wonder why you’re so afraid. But though they keep telling you otherwise, you refuse to believe them, crouching inside and peeking out the windows to catch a glimpse of the evil monster lurking there.
The military, and the bigots who encourage such nonsense, believe in the carnivorous lavender rabbit. At least their behavior is every bit as irrational as if they did.
It is, at root, the same problem we face in our schools. The “Lord of the Flies” atmosphere that pervades them is not caused by gay kids being themselves. It is, in fact, a lack of discipline. Conservatives should understand this better than anyone else. But in their panic, they have lost sight of reason.
If no one else can get them to be reasonable, LGBT Christians should certainly do our best. Jesus Christ exhorted His followers to overcome fear with love and understanding. That anti-gay Christians lead the charge into the hysteria now gripping the military is a scandal and a disgrace. They must be told to buck up and stop the freakout. They can’t go on persuading others to believe in their Savior when they clearly aren’t willing to trust in Him themselves.
They seem to think they can do nothing about the skinheads, or gang-bangers, or Nazis, or convicted criminals in their ranks. They’d rather pick on the gays, not because we are really frightening but because they’re actually more afraid of the mayhem they’ve let loose in our armed services. They want to appease the thugs because those troublemakers are holding them hostage. “We mustn’t make waves,” they claim, “because we’ll make them angry — and then they’ll REALLY show us!”
Who’s really in charge, here? Is it the thugs — or We, the People? Polls overwhelmingly show that the people think gays should be able to openly serve. It’s time to drive that giant lavender rabbit back into the darkness where nightmares belong.
A self-described “Libertarian Episcopalian lesbian,” freelance writer and the author of Good Clowns, a young adult novel published in 2018, Lori Heine published a blog called “Born on 9-11” and was a frequent contributor to the website Liberty Unbound. A native of Phoenix, Ariz., she graduated from Grand Canyon University in 1988 and spent much of her life in the insurance industry before turning full-time to writing as a freelancer, blogger and author.