Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Darren Manzella: Soldier and Gay Hero

Darren Manzella is a U.S. Army medic who decided to challenge the ridiculous Don't Ask Don't Tell policy by telling his commanding officer he is gay. And showing him pictures of his boyfriend to prove it.

Only to be told he isn't gay...and to go back to work immediately.

Because although the Pentagon has discharged 12-thousand gay and lesbian soldiers. Now there's a war on they don't want to lose them. So now they're not just bigots...they're hypocrites as well

Manzella told his story to 60 Minutes the other night and you can watch it here.

And today he explained why.

I have served with many men and women in Iraq, Kuwait and throughout the United States. In my opinion, they do not care if a service member is gay or straight. These men and women are my brothers and sisters in arms and I am the same to them. I know that what matters to most is not the sexual orientation of the person in your unit. What matters most is if that person is a good worker, a team player and most importantly, if that person has your back when it really matters...

Which every soldier knows is true. But still didn't stop the religious hatemongers from mouthing off.

“If the bleeding-heart lefties over at CBS News and the SLDN really want to do something to support our troops and help the military, they should abandon their attempts to radically alter and undermine the armed forces, pipe down, put a cork in it and let our brave fighting men and women win this war on terror.”

And insulting all the gay soldiers who are fighting and dying today. Or all those...and their buddies who fought and died in other wars.

But of course it isn't just a soldier's story.

As Andrew Sullivan points out the policy is aimed at all gay people.

I guess it's a sad but useful reminder that gay people - even those who risk their lives to defend their country - are still, in the eyes of the Republican base, a sub-moral caste of undesirables, people whose presence in any institution - the military, the academy, the priesthood, civil marriage - inherently debases it. There is, alas, nothing we can do to rebut this - no act of courage we can display, no love we can profess, no virtue we can uphold, no family we can defend to prove our civic equality and human dignity. Our inferiority is a priori for the religious right. It makes us impossible to "bond with," because we are moral contaminants. That's what we've learned this past decade. And it's the only reason the policy remains in place.


Good for Darren Manzella and the men and women at SLDN. Their fight is our fight.

Darren is a gay hero.

The struggle continues...


Lept said...

I guess I have to take issue with your over-use of Andrews:

Quoting Andrew Sullivan in this context (any context?) - given his support for Obama (in spite of the latter's use of virulently homophobic black preachers to court the black vote which is evidently eighty-percent-gay-hating) is highly questionable;
- not helped by his rejection of hate crime legislation: 'if someone bashes me over the head because I'm gay, I want them prosecuted for assault, not bigotry. They have an absolute right to their bigotry, as I have an absolute right to call them on it. But the law should criminalize nothing but specific acts that anyone, regardless of their race, religion, orientation or whatever'.

Too purist on my part, I imagine, but there are less tainted sources of criticism around. (I do, however, read him fairly regularly since he is definitely in touch.)

And then I have the same queasiness about using quotes from Andrew Coyne...

Simon said...

Hi Lept!!! ha ha I KNEW somebody would take issue with me over that. But don't worry I'm not going Conservative (gulp) I usually disagree with both Andrews about EVERYTHING. But I have been undergoing treatment for my blood disorder. And since they both said what I wanted to say...and although I disagree with them I respect them...and I didn't have the ENERGY to write it myself I just went with them!!
But I'll try to stay away from them from now on... :)

Lept said...

I gather you noticed I wasn't being too terribly serious...

And to confuse postings and matters generally:
- on the subject of the Pogues - Peter Tatchell has a good take on the matter.

Lept said...

Don't worry I am not becoming a troll.
Been meaning to apologize for the Tatchell link - I had thought - in the heat of the moment - that it was a different take to the one quoted - sorry for the apparent confusion.

Simon said...

Hi Leonardo!!! If I had a troll like you I wouldn't complain. I'd be honoured!!! :)
As for Peter Tatchell...I understand the point he is trying to make...but the only thing I'm absolutely sure of is that it's quite a storm in a teacup. As I said in the post I think it has to do with context. As in it's bad to use it agaiant us...but if I call another gay person a faggot it's OK...because he DESERVES it !!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Please help me. How does one define one is "gay", or homosexual? What is the distinction between gay and straight men?

Can a man just declare he is "gay" and that's it, or must he somehow prove he is gay? How does a man prove he is "gay"?

Thank you.