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The debate over "don’t ask, don’t tell" is more an issue of regulations and standards regarding the people of the United States who are willing to serve. Army regulations in general are in question and it has been at least a decade since these regulations were written.

Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population is serving in the U.S. armed forces. Instead of rewarding them for volunteering to make the ultimate sacrifice, we strip them of their individuality and right to be whom they are. We should allow these individuals to embrace life for the freedom they are giving others, not restrict them of their own freedom.

The Army says, "Be all you can be," but the fine print is "but don’t be who you are; conform to a written regulation we have placed upon you." We are forced to conform to an outdated book of rules expecting us to be heterosexuals, expecting us to keep our religious beliefs quiet, expecting us not to fall in love with other servicemembers unless they are of equal rank, etc.

When you take that oath, you are sacrificing being able to be yourself. No one is trying to parade their relationships at work, they are just asking to be equal, live their lives comfortably, not in hiding or shame, and continue to serve the country they love.

Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan is allowed to shout "I am a Sikh warrior" to his classmates, wearing his own form of Army Combat Uniform headgear with a full beard ("A Sikh in service," article, March 24), but individuals who are trying to live their lives with the one they love, regardless of sex or rank, are being denied that privilege. There is no equality in that.

Are we trying to change the world, or are we trying to change the people of the world?

First Lt. Amanda KehrringtonCamp Arifjan, Kuwait


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