Navy Sailors Fight Back Against Homophobia

navyYesterday, one of my other admins shared this picture on my page, Politically Preposterous, that was originally posted by the U.S. Navy. As you can see, it’s of a Navy sailor proposing to his boyfriend. The caption on the picture was: “The five things that you need to know about the Department of Defense (DOD)’s plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses,” and included a link to the Navy’s blog, Navy Live, with the information. I clicked on the picture, which brought me to the U.S. Navy’s official Facebook page and noticed immediately that a lot of the initial comments on the photo (from both service-people and civilians) were homophobic, intolerant, and just plain disgusting.

But, there was a silver lining on the black cloud of bigotry. Both heterosexual and homosexual sailors started to comment back, defending their brothers and sisters in arms, and attempting to shut down those perpetuating homophobia against military members. I will refer to the sailors by their first name and last initial rather than by their full name in order to protect their privacy, but the outpouring of support for gay and lesbian sailors by their brethren was overwhelming.

Here is a round-up:

Marvin S.: “Some of the comments here really bother me. I am a Chief Petty Officer stationed on board the USS Gridley in San Diego and I can assure you that we have a strong Navy with our goal of free of discrimination no matter if you are gay or straight, black or white, and no matter where you have came from. We have a Sailor who is gay in our department and he is one of the most hard working Sailors that I have met. I invite you on board our ship anytime. Your comments make me sick.”

Rob S.: “As a Naval Submarine Officer who has been to sea for months at a time with straight AND gay sailors, I am here to tell you there is no difference between them. Believe it or not, the gay sailors are just as hard working, professional and intelligent as the straight ones and I am proud to go to sea with both.”

Jeremiah S.: “I’m proud to say I’m serving in the military, I’m gay and in the Navy, in fact I work on the same waterfront as to where this picture was taken… Hooyah sailors!”

Lora H.: “I’m ashamed to have served in the Navy with so many hateful sailors like yourselves. If you don’t like “what the Navy has become” then get out. You won’t be missed.”

Don S.: “I’m a Navy veteran and I think it’s about time this happened. I could really care less what a guys sexual preference is. If he is serving his country he’s a great sailor. If I was still in I would be proud to serve with them!”

Michael T.: “I’ve been reading the comments on this pic. Those of you who find this disgusting should be ashamed of yourselves. This sailor is our shipmate and we should be supporting him. If it were a woman he was proposing to we would be congratulating him. Why the double standard? I know in the future you will look back on this and see that you were on the wrong side of history, just like those people who beat up blacks for sitting in the “whites only” section of a restaurant. This isn’t just about tolerance, it’s about being a decent human being. If you call yourselves “christian” you should start acting the way Jesus advised. He never said anything about hating others, but he did say a lot about loving your neighbor. Get over your closed-minded bigotry or keep it to yourselves. Those of us in the 21st century don’t want to hear your 18th century opinion.”

Andrew Y.: “Proud to serve alongside my brothers and sisters. Gay or straight.”

Bryan C.: “If you’re retired stay that way. If your active duty, stay flexible and open to change. Our whole career is defined by constant change. These men and women sweat and bleed just like we all do. If you have never been in the military, this service member is much braver than you sitting behind your keyboard.”

Cari G.: “I’m appalled at the people on here. Saying things like this is a disgrace to the uniform, you’re a disgrace to the United States if you feel that way. I’m proud to serve with anyone who chooses to wear this uniform. So everyone who is too small minded you need to wake the hell up. Everyone has the right to live their lives how they want to and how dare you judge them for it.”

Jamal J.: “Hooyah to my shipmates; hetero or homo, that protect my life.”

Fawn N.: “I served in the US Air Force for 8 years and I’m proud and happy that the fine gay airmen I worked with will no longer have to hide like criminals.”

Jasen H.: “As an active duty Submariner I’m happy that my community is tolerant and smart enough to know that a good sailor is good regardless of his sexual preference. This NEW MEXICO sailor is doing what makes him happy and exercising his RIGHTS. Submarines: 100 men go down, 1 family comes up.”

This goes on for awhile and I’m not going to post all of them. Suffice to say if your interested in reading all the comments you can head over to the Navy’s Facebook page (link above) and do so yourself. However, I figure I will end with this one from Eric P., because it’s my favorite:

“What do you people mean “Not my Navy?” and “I’m not proud to be a sailor?” You’re not the only one in the Navy and maybe there are straight people who are a part of it that don’t mind. Is it their Navy, too, or still just yours? And you’re no longer proud to be a sailor? What the hell? Being a sailor is part of who you are, not part of someone else. Being in the Navy is based on being able to work with other people, living with other people, maybe people you don’t really like or care for, but when the time comes, you work with them anyway. If you don’t like this or who they are, than that’s great, except no one really cares. This only gets so much publicity because so many people are against it. If no one cared, like heterosexual relationships and divorce and other things like that, it wouldn’t get this much attention. Why go out of your way to post negative things about this? Do you think you’re gonna change it? Why do you care? They don’t effect the way you live and work. He could be the best sailor the Navy has ever had…why should we care and who are we to judge his personal life since he’s not hurting anyone? I am a Midshipmen with all of the intentions of being an officer and if I have men and women under me who are homosexual, I couldn’t care less as long as they do their jobs and duties. That is what it comes down to.”

Kudos to these soldiers for standing up for their fellow servicemen and women and for what is right. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!


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