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DADT: A Man and His Private Parts

A few days ago, a good friend who'd served in the Navy told me that while he had nothing against gay people, he opposed letting them openly serve in the military "unless showering can be done in a more private way."
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This is an exchange I had a few days ago with a good friend (pseudonym "Jones" ) about my post last week about DADT (DADT and the Tyranny of the Minority):

Jones: Having spent four years in the Navy, I do believe there were gay sailors on board the aircraft carrier I was on because of the number of sailors assigned. However, not really knowing, I was not uncomfortable taking communal showers. This is a case where what you don't know won't hurt you. Therefore, I am against letting gay persons openly serve -- unless showering can be done in a more private way. I have nothing against gay people. I don't happen to have any gay friends but I would not hesitate to welcome a gay person as a friend, just as long as I don't have to shower with him.

Stone: Why would you object to showering with him? What do you think would happen?

Jones: I would feel my private parts are there for him to view. When dressed, I have no objection because those parts, which are part of his sexual preference, are hidden from view. As I like to look at women, and women look at men, just to assess their beauty, the feeling would change if there were no clothes involved. I had this experience when in Rome when I was in the service. They had communal showers with individual stalls in the hotel, but your clothes were on a hook outside the shower where everyone could see each other. And yes, I had those urges but did not act on them, even though I was not married at the time. I think that gay men have the same feelings when they see a man. And, with clothes removed, this would only enhance their feelings and that would make me very uncomfortable if I knew the person next to me was gay. Am I a prude? I don't think so, but I know my own feelings and what I believe are the feelings of other men and women. I think it's just part of human nature.

Stone: Undoubtedly that's true -- you would worry that gays could see your privates. But think about what you've said. Because you would worry about gays seeing your privates, you're prepared to discriminate against them and deny them the opportunity to serve their country, even though they've done nothing wrong.

Moreover, when you go into the military you commit to leaving your loved ones for an extended period of time, you commit to training brutally hard and living in communal barracks and learning how to kill other people, you commit to being in combat if necessary, in which you might have to live in horrid conditions, kill and main other human beings (some perhaps innocent of any wrongdoing), and risk being maimed or killed yourself. But you don't want a gay man to see you privates? This makes sense to you?

And beyond that, what do you think happens today in high school locker rooms, college dorms, and athletic clubs? In all of these places, and many others besides, straight men have their private parts seen by gay men. I have never once heard of anyone making a fuss over this, even today when many gays are "out" and others know they are gay. I have never heard of anyone quitting the football team or moving out of the dorms or giving up his membership in an athletic club because he knows a gay man has seen his privates.

The plain and simple fact is that, when all is said and done, this is a non-issue that people, without reflection, have been conditioned to think is a big deal. If you found yourself naked someday in a locker room or a doctor's office, would you really give a damn for more than a moment or two if a gay man saw your privates?

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