The logical flow of a summary “DADT” video (first cut)

IMG_9674

Okay, I’m aiming to make a “master video”, combining all the material of my three “Do Ask, Do Tell” books, so let me take a stab at the logical flow I will try to achieve.

IMG_9708

My first premise. I think some of us are “different” (some are more “divergent” than others), and what we do with our lives really matters.
*
So, the general principles by which we balance the pursuit of our own goals with meeting the “real” needs of others becomes of moral importance.

*

But before continuing with abstractions, it’s important to explain what started my writing, and how what I say and believe has changed over the years.

I got into this area when Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on gays in the military, and ran into resistance over the issues involving the lack of privacy and threat to unit cohesion in areas where people (in those days, mostly men) have little privacy.

I saw the issue first in terms of individual rights and responsibilities.  The ban involved the government getting into “private lives” even off base.  I thought that a DADTDP idea should be tried if the “don’t pursue” (as Bill Clinton worded it) part was taken seriously.  But the military ban was important for a sneaky reason — it’s important to be able to share the risks and common responsibilities of a society if one wants a full life and to be taken seriously (beyond just one’s private life).  I had gone through the whole draft-and-deferment issue, which produced the itchy irony.

Other the years since then, I’ve seem that the “double life” paradigm that had worked reasonably well for many gay men (and women) after Stonewall — even through the AIDS crisis — has become less tenable,  The Internet is one of the reasons, and I began to see that my own moral compass had this “Mobius strip” property of turning on itself.  Overtime, many other issues (such as eldercare) presented some moral quandaries that paralleled those of the military.  I began to see “inequality” (particularly when it came to luck) as a major source of tension and instability, and a threat to sustainability.  So even if I wanted just a “good personal life”, I would have to take these bigger problems of others seriously, even if I hadn’t caused them.  “Personal responsibility” needed to become a much more general notion than just making choices and keeping promises or contracts.  There was a whole issue of inner integrity, which has the capability to really matter to others, sometimes.

So, back to my “conjecture”.

“Divergent” people tend to have impacts on others out of proportion to their means or socially competitive ability.  That can be good (innovation) or bad (destructive behavior based on skewed values, as in the news recently, or simply encouraging resentment in others).

*

My own life illustrates this well. (In the video, I can insert a brief narrative biography at this point, with its many episodes over several decades.) I did have an ear for music, and I always wanted to express myself through music, and later through writing. Yes, I wanted recognition for it.
*
I found that others would demand that I tend to their needs in a social context. This went beyond simply earning one’s keep (work ethics), to being expected to fulfill certain roles, both socially and in terms of tasks done, related to my gender (male) and to the collective need for women and children in a community to be sheltered.
*
I began to develop a system, in my own mind, of “visual and audio virtue”, or what I wanted to see in other people, particularly men. My ability to feel emotion, first as experienced in music, came to be connected to this idea of virtue.
*
That already creates a paradox. I felt it was morally important that men look and act like men, even though I had trouble living up to that ideal myself.
*
As I matured physically and realized I was gay, I also perceived sexuality as a transformative experience, one that “the brain” gives great importance to, and that wants other people to recognize as significant.
*
In time homosexuality seemed to become the “surrogate” or “proxy” issue for something deeper, about the place for one’s own self-expression.
*
I did not find customary social interaction with others (leading to heterosexual dating on the one hand, and competitive salesmamship in the workplace on the other hand) productive because I was not good at it. I preferred activities where I could emphasize my own strengths. This created a lot of tension with others.
*

In my early days (after the William and Mary Expulsion in 1961 and particularly during therapy at NIH)  people were particularly concerned about what made me tick and drove my own feelings of attraction.  They were concerned about the “implications” of my “upward affiliation”, as if I were refusing to make the emotional sacrifices others have to make to have a sustainable society.  They were implicitly admitting they had made such “sacrifices” to get and stay married.

*
Others have made various demands of me, particularly in my teen and early adult years (school, collegel, the Army), and more recently, with eldercare for my mother; less so during my decades as an IT professional where I was more on my own and could support myself as an “individual contributor” while handling self-expressive needs with a “double life approach”, which is much less feasible now.
*
I do think it is important for people to earn what they “have” without undue reliance on the unseen sacrifices of others.
*
The lack of “fairness” at an individual level does contribute to a sense among some disadvantaged people that “we” are the enemy and the rules of society don’t apply to them. The idea of crime as “class warfare” has some relevance, at least.
*
I do receive challenges from people, sometimes fairly specific, to support their causes (or join them), to “give back” in terms of work, time and risk-taking, and even (somewhat erratically and unpredictably) openness to “relationships” with others whom I would not normally think well of. I am confronted with the idea of whether I can really help personally the people who would read my writings and have real adaptive (not just creativity-related) needs.

*

Others also act as if I should have my own “skin in the game” (dependents) before self-broadcasting positions in a “global manner”.  Of course, all this speech started when I really was “hurt”, that is, the William and Mary episode in 1961.
*
Perceived resistance to (intimate) relations when others when these relations are needed (to last through hardships and loss of physical attractiveness)  is a real sticking point with people.  It has a particular relevance to resilience, to helping people recover when they have “bad luck” or have become “victims”. The Vatican idea that sexuality should be confined to marriage where procreation and family responsibility can follow, seems relevant and seems to have something to do with keeping the world “fair” at an individual level.
*
(Published Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at 8:30 PM EDT)

Picture: where I lived, 1988-1995, Arlington VA.  Second picture: where I lived, in Annandale VA, 1995-1997, while I did most of the work on my first DADT book, on third floor.

One thought on “The logical flow of a summary “DADT” video (first cut)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *