The US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexual soldiers has the perverse effect of protecting bigots who commit violence against homosexuals, while preventing homosexuals who comply with the policy from seeking protection, says a former Navy officer.
In an article published in Sunday’s Washington Post, Joseph Rocha, a former petty officer stationed in Bahrain during the early years of the Iraq war, wrote: “The irony of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is that it protects bigots and punishes gays who comply.”
Because homosexuals can’t admit their sexuality to senior officers, they can’t complain about abuses, and that provides cover for those committing violence against them, Rocha explained.
Rocha’s criticism of “dont’ ask, don’t tell” comes on the heels of a gay-rights march on Washington, DC, this past weekend, ahead of which President Barack Obama gave a speech in which pledged to end the policy. But many gay-rights activists have accused the president of dragging his heels on the policy change.
Shortly after joining the Navy’s canine bomb-sniffing unit in Bahrain in 2004, Rocha says he was subjected to repeated hazing by his commanding officer. CNN reports that Rocha and others in his unit were subjected to numerous acts of humiliation, including being hog-tied, being force-fed dog treats, and being duct-taped to a chair and left inside a dog kennel.
“Shop talk in the unit revolved around sex, either the prostitute-filled parties of days past or the escapades my comrades looked forward to,” Rocha wrote in the Post. “They interpreted my silence and total lack of interest as an admission of homosexuality. My higher-ups seemed to think that gave them the right to bind me to chairs, ridicule me, hose me down and lock me in a feces-filled dog kennel.
“I told no one about what I was living through,” Rocha continued. “I feared that reporting the abuse would lead to an investigation into my sexuality. My leaders and fellow sailors were punishing me for keeping my sexuality to myself, punishing me because I wouldn’t ‘tell.'”
The man Rocha blamed for the abuses was his commanding officer, Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Toussaint. But following an investigation, the Navy decided to charge the unit’s second-in-command, Petty Officer Jennifer Valdivia. Toussaint has since been promoted and now works with the Navy Seals.
Valdivia was herself the victim of hazing. Rocha described to CNN how Valdivia was once “dressed only in a bedsheet, handcuffed to a bed, and forced into a catfight with two other women.”
After learning she would be blamed for the hazing, Valdivia committed suicide, leaving behind a message on her MySpace page in which she said she was “tired of being blamed for other people’s mistakes.”
Following a Youth Radio investigation into the matter earlier this year, members of Congress are beginning to sit up and take notice. Rocha’s ordeal is being championed by US House Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), a former Navy admiral who, according to CNN, “is so disturbed about allegations of abuse and hazing in the Navy’s canine unit in Bahrain he’s demanding answers from the Navy, asking the same question some sailors are: Where is the accountability?”
Sestak has reportedly requested an inquiry into Rocha’s allegations, sending a letter to Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus asking for answers about the allegations.
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Oct. 12, 2009.
Fake Village People appear on SNL to tell Trump to stop using their music or they’ll shave Ivanka’s head
The fake Village People made a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live" to tell President Donald Trump to stop using their music at his rallies or they'll shave Ivanka Trump's head.
"If you have been watching the Trump rallies, you probably noticed Trump dancing to The Village People," said Colin Jost during the Weekend Update segment. "If you haven't, let's take a look."
He explained that the Village People had their own special message for the president. The group of SNL cast members came out dressed in traditional Village People outfits and sang their cease and desist for the president.
SNL does campaign ad asking what they’ll do without Trump to trash — then they have a revelation
"What is the news even going to be about now?" the Saturday Night Life cast joked, saying that without President Donald Trump.
The fake ad began saying that everyone knows it could be the most important election of our lives.
"And the two choices couldn't be more different," the ad continues. "Do we want four more years of Donald Trump or a fresh start with Joe Biden? Can we survive four more years of scandal, name-calling, and racial division? Or do we want a leader who unites the country? I want to vote for Biden because he's better, smarter. better and better."
But, the cast members confessed, "I'm worried, because if Donald Trump isn't president -- when what are they going to talk about? Like, what would our conversations even be? Because the only thing I talked about for four years is Donald Trump. Every single day I tell someone, 'Can you believe what Trump just said?' My entire personality is hating Donald Trump. If he's gone, what am I supposed to do? Focus on my kids again? No thanks. He changed the game. He called the attorney general he appointed mentally retarded. That's some next-level sh*t!"
Saturday Night Live’s Trump claims his secret COVID-19 plan is ‘under audit just like my taxes’
"Saturday Night Live" began this week's show with a recap of the presidential debate showing President Donald Trump confusing Kirsten Welker with Hoda Kotb, Mindy Lahiri, and at one point, even a waitress.
Alec Baldwin explained that the coronavirus loved him so much that it didn't want to leave his body because it was so beautiful.
He also explained that he couldn't share his coronavirus plan because it was still under audit like his taxes.
Jim Cary toned down his portrayal of Joe Biden from last week's over-the-top yell-fest.
"Learning to live with it? We're learning to die with it, man!" said the fake Biden, quoting the real Biden, but with a glint of Clint Eastwood.