The views expressed in "Coexisting as a team" (letter, Nov. 23) are both offensive and misguided.

One wonders whether being able to be honest about one’s sexuality without fear of being kicked out of the military is equivalent to being "paraded around in my face all the time." The idea that a straight servicemember can place a picture of his significant other on his desk or atop his dashboard in his Humvee, while a gay servicemember would fear being kicked out for doing the same, is simply wrong.

The U.S. military has lost many outstanding servicemembers — who voluntarily signed up to serve their country honorably — because of their sexuality. This archaic practice has to end. This is not a matter of keeping "their mouths shut about their personal lives." It has to do with basic human decency and recognizing the contributions of all servicemembers to our great military, gay or straight. In a time of war, we cannot afford to lose such skilled servicemembers, particularly in the field of Arabic linguistics.

Threatening to leave the military not because he has "a problem with gays," but attaching such objections to the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell," is itself very telling. This is not a matter of politics and the military’s coexisting at the lower level, it’s a recognition that a policy simply doesn’t work.

If the federal government has laws preventing hiring and firing based on sexual orientation, the military should be no different. It is time to get rid of this obviously discriminatory practice and the mindset given in the letter.

Spc. Michael PleyteBaghdad

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