What do soldiers think?
The writer’s argument about race and gender doesn’t apply ("We can handle openly gay GIs," letter, April 19). She is comparing this argument to previous civil rights issues. This issue is a matter of lifestyle, not civil rights.
Let’s think about things here. If a closet gay male were to room with one of my soldiers and we didn’t know, then so be it. Once he opens his mouth and says "I’m gay," should my soldier have to stay in the same room with him, if the prospect of doing so makes my soldier uncomfortable? Couldn’t this be considered an equal opportunity complaint? Hostile environment? Especially if my soldier’s peers found out. Could this not pose a problem for him as well? I get it: So openly gay soldiers should room with each other. … Makes perfect sense.
Next scenario: During a National Training Center rotation, you have to shower in open bay showers. If there was an openly gay male in one of those showers, I am fairly certain that most males would not want to be in the same shower. Is this homophobic-type behavior? It may be. But why does any heterosexual male have to subject himself to an openly gay male having the opportunity to see him naked? We would have to build a third shower block for homosexuals, right? We may have to build more barracks rooms as well. That, in turn, would just instigate hate crimes, which would single them out further.
I believe the argument is based on the writer’s beliefs and not that of the soldiers around her. If you were to ask each soldier, male or female, what they would do in the situation described above, what would their response be? Let soldiers vote.
Staff Sgt. James R. Paulk Jr.Contingency Operating Site, Iraq