Is This Shirtless Veteran's Day Ad Disrespectful to Gay Soldiers?
To comemorate Veterans Day — the day we thank American soldiers for their service — the LGBT marriage organization Freedom To Marry made a video of two hunky soldiers stripping down to their skivvies and showing us their scars.
The tagline reads: "Gay and straight service members scar in the same way."
LGBT blogger Bil Browning hated the video:
"It always boils down to complaining about marriage, doesn't it? God forbid we just honor LGBT soldiers for their service and sacrifice - instead of showing off their scars and bruises for political gain."
"This video plays into every damn stereotype of our community. It objectifies the two men as sexual objects and takes a very serious subject - wounded veterans - and turns it into another way to insert marriage rights where it has no business."
"Giving the soliders the right to marry their partners won't let them escape war unscathed. To imply that it will is simply disgusting."
While we don't see the nakedness in the commercial as tawdry as Mr. Browning did, otherwise, he kind of has a point.
Despite the 2011 repeal of the gay-military banned known as "Don't Ask Tell, "the so-called Defense of Marriage Act continues to screw over military families.
However, as the The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network explains, DOMA is just a nasty little cherry atop a crappy cake of military inequality.
For example, transgender soldiers still can't serve, can't recieve hormonal treatment for a gender-reassignment surgery and they can still get discharged as having a psychosexual condition if they express any feelings of gender disphoria.
Federal Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines still prohibit military servicemen who have sex with other men from giving blood, presumably because our blood is un-American or some sort of national security risk.
Furthermore, Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice rtill prohibits consensual sodomy (that is anal and oral sex between any two people, straight or gay. We'll give you one guess as to which sexual orientation has been most negatively affected by sodomy charges.
Despite the fact that the 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas struck down sodomy laws nationwide, "the military could constitutionally continue to prosecute consensual sodomy under limited circumstances." For example, if you outrank the guy you're fucking... that's a crime (see United States v. Marcum).
And that crime can snag you five years in prison, punitive discharge, reduction in pay and fines and forfeitures.
LGB soldiers can also get in serious trouble for "virtually any physical act with another person... if it can be shown that the act was committed for a sexual or romantic purpose," under articles 133 and 134 of the UCMJ (also known as "conduct unbecoming" and "general article").
So while DOMA may continue to harm our celebrated LGBT soldiers, it's important not to forget about the other systemic inequalities that our servicemembers face on a daily basis.