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Scrapping 'Don't ask, don't tell' reverses unjust societal construct - Jarrett Bell

Scrapping 'Don't ask, don't tell' reverses unjust societal construct

To the editor:

On May 30, 2011, in the opinion piece named, "Don't Scrap 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" Larry McNorton enumerated his reasons why the controversial policy should still be enforced. He stated three reasons why he believes this policy should remain in effect: homosexuality takes pride in its depravity; homosexuality is encouraged on the country's youth; homosexual unions have no purpose in nature, since they cannot produce offspring.

The reasons enumerated are indicative of reinforcing an unjust societal construct that flies in the face of what America stands for. The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a step towards loosening the tight strings of misunderstanding, fear and bigotry. A vivid image of "Gay Pride Day" was painted in the opinion piece that is used as a cornerstone for supporting the first reason -- people stripping half-naked and dancing in the streets.

While at face value it is very easy for one to come up with a negative opinion of this activity that takes place during Gay Pride celebrations, one must see that society has forced gay people to hide their true selves and live in the shadows. To understand this concept, consider this: heterosexuals (straight people) do not have to let other people know that they are straight; society does not put that burden upon them, since it is deemed to be "normal," which is a very subjective term, in itself.

However, due to the societal construct of what is considered to be normal and the pressure to adhere to this construct, gay people must continue to hide their true feelings and their true selves, in order to be in compliance. For those people who decide they can no longer violate their natural proclivity, live a dishonest life, not positively contribute to society, and who decide to come out of the closet, the Pride event that happens in cities across America equates to being liberated from societal oppression forced upon them.

These people are liberated from a societal construct that is not only detrimental to their health and well-being, but goes against the fundamental principles that led to the creation of the United States of America on July 4, 1776 -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The reason of "homosexuality takes pride in its depravity" fails to take into account the oppression faced by these marginalized people, but instead equates their forced marginalization as being morally corrupt and proud of it. The mere thought of reinforcing this societal construct, in itself, is morally corrupt. It suppresses one's right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, based upon another's opinions on what is right and wrong.

A classic argument for the continued abridgment of the rights of gay people in America surfaced as an integral part of the second reason stated -- That it is a choice to be gay, along with the fear of children being forced to choose to be gay. The dangerous assertion of the ability to choose one's sexuality has been determined to be false by many associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with many other doctors and scientists.

A study of biology shows there are gay animals in the animal kingdom and human beings are by technical purposes animals. Therefore, human beings are part of the animal kingdom and also subject to this phenomenon. As members of the animal kingdom, some members of the human family are gay, and those people will have same-sex attraction that is determined biologically before birth. Considering this, the notion that being gay is forced upon children is completely incorrect.

Forcing youngsters, who are developing their identity during their pre-teen and adolescent years, to adhere to a societal construct that goes against their natural instincts will have serious detrimental effects on not only them, but also their family and peers. Those effects include delayed growth and development, propagation of ignorance and bigotry, and the engagement in unhealthy actions, such as drugs, reckless and unprotected sex, crimes against others, etc. The most extreme byproduct is suicide.

Finally, I noticed during the discussion of the last reason there was no reference to new technologies that would make it possible for gay individuals and/or couples to have children, if they chose not to adopt. One of those technologies is artificial insemination, which does not require sex in order for an embryo to form and eventually a baby. Instead, a gay male could provide sperm to a female surrogate or a gay female could carry the baby upon being provided the sperm from a male surrogate, using assisted reproduction technologies.

The reproduction issue, therefore, has no bearing on the purpose of gay unions, which is the central focus of the last point made in the piece. In fact, a gay union has a legitimate purpose in nature -- providing a two-parent household that is rapidly diminishing in America today, considering the high rate of divorces among straight couples. Considering the growing number of single mothers and single fathers in our country today, gay unions may help in slowing the decline of two-parent households, and will provide the type of environment that is understanding and accepting, which children need to be raised in.

From a faith perspective, as a Unitarian Universalist, my faith says there is inherent worth in every human being; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another; respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part. These beliefs apply in working with people from all walks of life, including gay people. In following my faith, I am strongly against the marginalization of any person; I am strongly against the societal construct that punishes gay people for something they cannot control; I am strongly against the societal construct that routinely abridges the rights of gay American citizens, who faithfully pay taxes and positively impact the community; I am strongly against the propagation of falsities and unfounded, preconceived notions that reinforce the thinly veiled cloak of bigotry, superiority and ignorance.

Jarrett Bell is a security consultant and is a graduate of Southern Polytechnic State University. He resides in Stockbridge, Ga.