Anto saidMy prior experience in the military was very similar to the soldier in that story, and I was very fortunate that people were able to see how my orientation didn't affect my ability to perform as a military cop... moreover, as a non-commissioned officer.
You were an MP? So was I! Hermano!
I've told this story here before. When I was a Lt. Colonel, a Staff Sergeant in my office was clearly gay, and we all pretty much knew it. In fact, one time he threw a sergeants party in his off-post apartment, to which I was invited as the senior officer. I made a polite appearance and then soon disappeared, so the sergeants could have their own uninhibited time alone.
Well, his civilian "roommate" was about as flaming as you can get, and fluttered all around the party, acting as the "hostess." I couldn't believe my sergeant took that chance with me and the other soldiers.
But no one had a problem, not even my Sergeant Major who was there, nor several of my Master Sergeants, the most senior career enlisted at the party. When this Staff Sergeant later came into the promotion eligibility window, I pulled all the strings I could to get him promoted, though he had to be selected over others ahead of him by seniority. He was a superior soldier, and while I assumed he was gay, his outstanding performance was all I cared about. (I was still in denial, thinking I was straight myself. A factor? I will never know)
So he was promoted to Sergeant First Class (E-7), ahead of many others. And now I'm very proud of that, and him, that I wasn't a homophobic by-the-book bastard, like some of my fellow officers. And frankly tolerance was more the rule than the exception, the US Army around 1990 not obsessed with homosexuality issues, but more rational and realistic than it later became under the second President Bush.
With a few hard-core exceptions (and they currently in some powerful positions thanks to Bush/Cheney), most career officers don't have a problem with this. Cold realists, as they are trained to be, they'd rather have a good soldier who delivers, regardless of his or her sexuality.
Sexuality? What relevance has that to combat effectiveness, when the bullets are flying? Civilians may imagine all kinds of problems, but most commanders do not. Commanders see results, as I did, not hypotheticals.
Bush and the Republicans were always saying we needed to listen to the commanders in the field. Can we also listen to them on this issue, as well?