With all due respect to gay men and women who serve in our armed forces - this is not about them.
I have the utmost respect for the difficult situation that gay and lesbian military men and women find themselves in - they can't be honest about who they are because of an undeserved homophobia. That isn't right. Good God people - just because a person is gay doesn't mean he can't do his job - including pulling a trigger if he or she has to. I respect that and appreciate what the military does - I don't think I could.
I think the really big problem with the military and gays isn't about the fox hole, it is the bunk room, locker room and shower room. It is all about someone checking out their bits! The closest that I ever got to their experience was in the locker room. I see it to this day at the gym - some people are totally comfortable about being seen naked - but most are a little shy.
The most vivid and outrageous example I ever saw of this was in High School. I was a sophomore on the swimming team and we wore Speedos (nylon in those days) and had a gang shower. The seniors were so good looking but I looked like a refuge from a concentration camp. The seniors were also a horny bunch and would be very provocative. When practice was over the dive team would sometimes strip down (they had Lycra Speedos) and dive and swim naked. Some of the seniors would jack themselves in the gang shower (the better to show off how big their dicks were) in front of everyone. The coach would come in and yell at them. I was both fascinated and terrified by the whole thing. I wanted to watch but I would get harder than a rock if I watched. I would pretty much just run to my locker and get dressed as fast as I could and get the hell out of there.
Today I experience that whole "Don't Ask - Don't Tell" thing at work. I work for a very nice company that is owned by Christian fundamentalist. They even have a nice bible study every Thursday at lunch. If I came out I would get fired. Oh not for being gay - it would be for some other reason - but I would get fired.
So, despite a real desire, even a real need to be honest about who I am - I can't tell. I need the money. I take my lunch most of the time and people always ask if my wife fixed it. My answer "It was a joint effort - I cleaned up." That gets a laugh and they leave me alone. But the truth is: I would love to tell them "My husband is a great cook." But I can't.
Is it fair? No! But life isn't ever going to be fair. I am glad that we live a very open life style in most respects - but it is unfortunate that so many gay people have to stay in the closet when they go to work. I think everyone looses. Maybe even the military.