7.13.2010

Separate But Equal: Pentagon Says Segregation of Gay Troops Possible Result of DADT Survey (UPDATED)

TPM has a piece titled, "Pentagon Slams Critics Of Don't Ask Don't Tell Survey." It really should have been titled "Pentagon Spokesman Says Segregation of Gay Troops a Possible Result of Survey."

While the gist of the piece is, according to TPM's, "Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell is hitting back against criticisms of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell survey," the real takeaway was what he said and what

In response to questions from reporters, Morrell clarified that the survey responses could lead the military to conclude that it would "perhaps need adjustments to facilities themselves," indicating that it is not outside the realm of possibility that, in order to preserve the privacy and modesty of heterosexual service members in group showers and barracks, the military would consider segregating gay and lesbian service members in some way.
Yes, you read the correctly. The Pentagon is considering, under the first black Administration in our nation's history, segregating gay and lesbian service members as a possible outcome of a survey that by any measure, was meant to sway that outcome by it's absurd, insulting, leading nature & tone of questions like these:
"If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are assigned to bathroom facilities with an open bay shower that someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian Service member also used, which are you most likely to do?"

The choices:

“Take no action;

“Use the shower at a different time than the Service member I thought to be gay or lesbian;

“Discuss how we expect each other to behave and conduct ourselves;

“Talk to a chaplain, mentor, or leader about how to handle the situation;

“Talk to a leader to see if I had other options;

“Something else;

“Don't know.”

[snip]

Another question asks troops "If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you had onbase housing and a gay or lesbian Service member was living with a same sex partner onbase, what would you most likely do?" Options range from "I would get to know them like any other neighbors" to "I would probably move offbase."

Yet another asks, if DADT is repealed "and a gay or lesbian Service member attended a military social function with a same sex partner, which are you most likely to do?" With options ranging from "Continue to attend military social functions" to "Stop attending military social functions."

read more..

If the first black president allows his pentagon to implement separate but equal for gay & lesbian service members as a possible deal in order to have Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) repealed, it would be my last straw.

UPDATE I: The Pentagon has responded to the uproar over what seems like the possibility of "segregating" gay and lesbian service members:
Pentagon Pushes Back Against Claim That DADT Survey Could Lead To Segregation Of Gay Troops

In an interview with Morrell this afternoon, the Pentagon spokesman told the Wonk Room that his comments were twisted and taken out of context and vehemently denied that the Defense Department was considering segregating the troops. “So what I said, I used the term ‘facilities adjustments’ and I think people have gotten carried away as to what that could mean,” he began:

MORRELL: So, when I was asked, about the, you know – this is in the context of “why are you even asking these questions?” – well, we’re asking these questions because in our engagements with the force thus far, this has been an area of some concern. Now we need to test it to see if that holds for—if it really reflects the concerns of the force, and which members of the force. Is it older members? Is it younger members? Are they, you know—which ones? And, and then along with this information, the working group will make some recommendations about how to deal with those concerns. It could be, as I said, who knows? This could be dealt with through education programs, through training programs, or it may require “facilities adjustments.” But no one, no one is considering “separate but equal” bathing or living facilities for you know, gay and straight troops. That’s just not ever a consideration.

Q: So that’s off the table.

MORRELL: Absolutely off the table.

UPDATE II:
PENTAGON: We Were Only Talking About Adding Shower Curtains
Via CBS:

Morrell told Hotsheet that the suggestion the survey could lead to segregation is "absurd." "No one is talking about segregating gay servicemembers from straight servicemembers," Morrell said. "We don't know that any adjustment will have to be made, but in the event that's a recommendation from the review group, it would not result in any 'separate but equal' facilities." Hypothetically speaking, Morell said, it is possible the military could consider facility modifications like adding shower curtains to shower stalls that are currently open. "We don't know if any adjustments will be required, but we need to survey the force to get an idea of what their privacy concerns are," he said. Morell said the suggestion the survey could lead to segregation is "inflammatory nonsense" from groups trying to discredit the survey, which is "not helpful" for the Defense Department.
UPDATE III:
Pentagon responds to our blog post about segregating gay troops. Apparently, I'm not being 'helpful.'
Today, Morrell - who has been less than truthful about Pentagon efforts on DADT in the past - took umbrage at our post:
"We think it would be irresponsible to conduct a survey that didn’t try to address these types of things. Because when DADT is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force to handle those situations, or perhaps even facility adjustments that need to be made to deal with those scenarios."

"No one is talking about segregating gay servicemembers from straight servicemembers," Morrell said. "We don't know that any adjustment will have to be made, but in the event that's a recommendation from the review group, it would not result in any 'separate but equal' facilities."

[snip]
With all due respect to Mr. Morrell, a Bush appointee, it's not my job to be "helpful" to a Defense Department that treats my community as second class citizens, and regularly undercuts its own commander in chief. As for Morrell's assertion that we are responsible for this notion that the Pentagon might be considering segregating gay troops, the idea didnt come from me, it came from the Secretary of the Army last October:


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