Sunday, 17 February 2008

72: Gays in the Military 1993 - Don't Ask, Don't Tell

That new policy was announced in July 1993 (from when the majority of the following editorial cartoons date). It became law on February 28, 1994 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Congress continued the longstanding ban against homosexual conduct in the military, and that the presence of homosexuals in the military would undermine morale, discipline, and unit cohesion.
The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation, or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The policy also requires that as long as gay or bisexual men and women in the military hide their sexual orientation, commanders are not allowed to investigate their sexuality.
Or, as popularly known, "don't ask, don't tell."

In the last cartoon, we have about the only "homosexual" in all of the editorial cartoons I can find. In all of them, homosexuality is discussed, but the cartoonists choose to show either military opposition or a vacilating, conscience-struck Clinton. The issue is largely a political one, the struggle between the military and Clinton, rather than the actual effect of a gay person in the armed forces. Besides, any actual acknowledgment of homosexuality is only going to up the controversy level. Pat Oliphant, however, does decide to show a gay soldier, and he's a flamer. In fact, Oliphant always has used the the old-fashioned negative gay stereotypes in his cartoons. Which is possibly more of a shame than when a hack like Stanley Franklin also uses them, because Olyphant is otherwise an intelligent, combative, if somewhat conservative, bold cartoonist

No comments: