“Diversity” Training and Education

This an excerpt of a book chapter by CMR President Elaine Donnelly titled “Defending the Culture of the Military,” published in May 2010 by the Air Force University Press as part of a book titled Attitudes Are Not Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces. Footnotes are in sequence but different from the original text, which begins on page 249, linked above.

“Diversity” Training and Education

The Palm Center recommends that “military leaders must signal clearly that they expect all members of the armed forces to adhere to the new policy, regardless of their personal beliefs.”1 Coercive implementation would require what the Palm Center described as “surveillance and monitoring of compliance” combined with mandatory training programs to change attitudes and make the new gay-friendly policy work. 

Absent current law, the DOD will “salute smartly” and proceed to implement all-encompassing, “nondiscriminatory” training and education programs to enforce acceptance─even among mid-level commanders who would be forced to set aside their own objections in order to teach others. Success for such training would be far more difficult than historic programs designed to end discrimination and irrational prejudice against racial minorities. Mandatory sensitivity sessions will attempt to overcome the normal human desire for modesty and privacy in sexual matters—a quest that is inappropriate for the military and unlikely to succeed.

With the exception of lawyers needed to defend military personnel accused of “bad attitudes,” the only people likely to benefit from the mandatory implementation of such programs would be LGBT advocates and professional diversity trainers that the Department of Defense invites to participate.

None of the time or expense involved in these activities would improve morale, discipline, or readiness in the all-volunteer force. Our military respects women and does not expect them to accept constant exposure to passive/aggressive approaches of a sexual nature. It should not be ordered to change personal feelings and beliefs about human sexuality.

Special Events and Sexual Expression

Gay activists expect special events and occasions to celebrate homosexual service members, in the same way that special days or months are scheduled to recognize minority groups and women in the military. Early in the Clinton administration, the Department of Defense sponsored a day-long “Diversity Day Training Event” in an Arlington, Virginia, Crystal City building near the Pentagon.

Programs cosponsored with 18 other government agencies featured lectures, anti-Christian panel discussions, exhibits, workshops, and a controversial video titled “On Being Gay.”

In 2009, Pres. Barack Obama signed a statement proclaiming June to be “LGBT Pride Month.” The Department of State and NASA followed with similar gay and lesbian pride proclamations and activities posted on their Web sites.4

Social events can have consequences. According to the Washington Post, in May 2009 employees of the American Embassy in Baghdad celebrated gay rights by sponsoring a “Pink Zone” theme party event at a pub called BagDaddy’s. Guests were invited to attend dressed in drag as their favorite gay icon. An embassy spokesman explained that social events are permitted there because there are no gathering places elsewhere in Baghdad. The same rationale could apply to military people serving on remote bases in war zones.

Consistency in gay-friendly social events would create a new inconsistency with policies requiring Americans to avoid practices considered offensive to the Muslim civilians and soldiers that Americans are supposed to train in combat or local security skills. The problem was presaged in July 2009, when the State Department came to regret an incident involving male security contractors in Kabul, Afghanistan. The alcohol-besotted men partied wildly around a bonfire in a state of near-nudity— bacchanalian behavior that rivaled the most offensive abuses of Abu Ghraib.

Public nudity will not become acceptable in the military, but if the Pentagon follows the State Department’s lead in equating consensual heterosexual and homosexual behavior, where will local commanders be able to draw the line? It is difficult to put one’s foot down when there is no visible floor on which to place one’s foot.