Despite the best efforts of some Republicans—really, guys, you gave it your all—openly gay soldiers will be allowed to serve in the military barring any last-second changes.
If you’ve been following DADT at all over the past year, you’ve seen some mention of this training that needs to be completed before DADT is officially repealed. You probably passed it off as nothing because, well, you were more concerned with whether or not DADT was actually going to be repealed. But now that it’s being repealed, training is in full force. It began in January and is expected to wrap up by the end of the summer.
So, what is it? Some kind of shock therapy? Are straight soldiers forced to hug the gay ones? Maybe some diagrams? Videos? The Associated Press has some answers. The latest training materials ask and tell Marines how to react in certain situations.
What if you see two off-duty soldiers kissing outside of a bathroom at a shopping mall?
He should react as if he were seeing a man and woman.
And what if you see a Marine marching in a parade with a banner saying, “Support Gays and Lesbians in the Military!”?
He should accept it as a free right of expression.
How ‘bout hearing other servicemen joke about not wanting to shower with their gay comrades?
The officer who witnesses the loud locker-room banter aimed at gays and lesbians should remind the Marines any discrimination or harassment is inappropriate.
The training material doesn’t expect to change anyone’s beliefs, but it expects everyone to follow the orders:
You remain obligated to follow orders that involve interaction with others who are gay or lesbian, even if an unwillingness to do so is based on strong, sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.
Even chaplains are allowed to express their religious views on homosexuality—mainly, that it’s a sin—during services on their bases.
It does seem forced. It’s awkward, too. There’s bound to be some friction whenever the ban is officially lifted. But, still, it’s definitely better than nothing. And it’s hard to envision any specific “right way” to deal with such a nuanced and volatile issue—whether or not it should be. Either way, it is progress.