Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

Op-Ed: Supporting ROTC Supports Queer Rights

As The Daily reported in an article titled “SSQL gathers signatures to protest ROTC’s return” (Feb. 7), Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL) has been mounting a campaign against the return of ROTC on the basis that the military still discriminates against transgender individuals. As queer students and supporters of greater transgender rights, we applaud SSQL’s efforts to draw attention to these issues. That being said, we are concerned that the antagonistic approach taken by SSQL is not representative of the larger queer community and may halt further progress for queer rights in the military.

The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was an unquestionable victory for gay rights advocates. It marks a significant milestone in what has been a recent and dramatic shift towards increased support for gay rights. Rather than celebrate with rest of the queer community, SSQL simply moved the goal posts back in its aggressive anti-military campaign.

For the first time in the history of this country, representatives are taking queer voices seriously. Their consideration will do much to further social justice, but it merits a response of gratitude and reciprocal action from the queer and allied constituents. By continuing to antagonize the military, SSQL sends the message that no serious concessions will ever satisfy the community. This kind of approach undermines organizational credibility for future advocacy work. Negotiation requires compromise from both sides, and SSQL refuses to acknowledge that reality. In doing so, they obstruct further progress at the Congressional level.

Allowing ROTC’s return demonstrates that the queer community understands that progress is a process and that it is willing to continue that stepwise process, including promoting equality for the transgender population. We must be willing to work with those that disagree with us if we are to have permanent change.

Furthermore, Stanford University, as a premier institution of learning, trains the future leaders in practically every field. Its students carry with them the values of tolerance and equality that are embodied in its mission and forward-thinking culture Stanford ROTC graduates will be future military leaders who are equipped not just with military training but also the values of this institution. Their courageous leadership will undoubtedly promote progress from within the organization.

We would like to reemphasize that the repeal of DADT is not the final step in the struggle for queer equality in the military. Transgender students deserve equal access to ROTC’s benefits, and we should continue to press our leaders for this legislation. We cannot expect this change to be immediate. No civil rights movement has ever happened overnight. What we can do is accept DADT’s repeal as a step in the right direction and use this progress as a stepping-stone for further progress.  We hope that the queer community will recognize the opportunity for exchange and learning that ROTC’s return will bring and support the members of our greater Stanford community who will be the emissaries of our values.

Warner Sallman ’11 and Marloes Sijstermans ‘11

  • Stanford ROTC good for gay soldiers

    Bravo, Stanford Daily, for taking a progressive and constructive stance on the Stanford ROTC issue.

    In any progressive movement, it’s important to consolidate new gains when they are fragile, possibly even reversible. Restoring ROTC at Stanford makes a strong statement to America of Stanford’s nation-building values by investing its most valuable product, its graduates, in response to DADT repeal. Restoring ROTC establishes an effective position for Stanford to further advance civil-military relations.

    More than that, restoring ROTC to Stanford would bear immediate and direct benefit for gay soldiers. The repeal of DADT involves a real transition within the military’s ranks as more openly gay people join the military and gay soldiers come out. It remains to be seen whether the changes within the military will be smooth or bumpy. What we do know is that the front-line officers will be response to manage the transition on the ground. The greatest, most personal impact will be made by the young platoon leaders (lieutenants) and company commanders (captains) who are closest to the troops. That means the sooner that Stanford ROTC cadets graduate to become commissioned officers, the sooner they will be in the ranks to directly manage the military’s transition from DADT.

    Bottom-line: Stanford with ROTC could make an immediate constructive impact for the gay military community in this critical and sensitive historic moment. The sooner that Stanford restores ROTC, the sooner that Stanford can produce more Stanford lieutenants and captains who we trust to do the right thing for gay soldiers in their charge.

  • Stanford ROTC good for gay soldiers

    “What we do know is that the front-line officers will *be response to* manage the transition on the ground.”

    CORRECTION: What we do know is that the front-line officers will manage the transition on the ground.

  • Question

    Even if ROTC comes back to Stanford, this campus would have been entirely unaware that the military still discriminates against our transgender peers without SSQL’s work and aggressive goals.

    Progress happens because a few people make it happen. DADT was repealed because of aggressive campaigns lasting over 15 years, campaigns including many progressive universities refusing to allow ROTC on their campuses until it met the requirements of their academic and/or nondiscrimination policies.

    While, yes, the inclusion of transgender people in the military will no doubt take a long time, we are at one of the most progressive universities in the country. Why not lead the way?

  • Concerned Student

    SSQL’s campaign is not only against the return on the ROTC program on the basis that it still discriminates against trans people, but also on the basis that it constitutes a FUNDAMENTAL VIOLATION of Stanford’s Non-Discrimination Clause! Bringing back the ROTC program is antithetical to a precedent established by the administration itself.

  • LT

    Mr. Sallman, Ms. Sijstermans,

    You and I seem to agree that trans discrimination is bad needs to be resolved. I’ve asked this on other articles but I’ll ask it again: How does Stanford’s tacit approval of a discriminatory system influence the military to change that system?

    “Allowing ROTC’s return demonstrates that the queer community understands that progress is a process and that it is willing to continue that stepwise process, including promoting equality for the transgender population.”

    True, progress can be a stepwise process. In the case of Prop 8, should gay couples have never sued the state of California? How about the Employee Non-Discrimination Act? Should we wait for comparable state-by-state legislation or push for ENDA at a federal level? These examples to show that much of gay rights activism in the past decade has taken the opposite approach of your quote, taking the stance that “we can’t just wait to have our rights handed to us.” [Side note: I’d argue that it’s lobbyists who do the Congressional compromising you’re looking for. I’ll posit that activism has always been about backing sometimes difficult positions in order to bring awareness and enact change. Hardlining has a been a criticism of the activist community since the Civil Rights era, although I’m quite glad my grandfather didn’t believe in compromising his rights.]

    “By continuing to antagonize the military, SSQL sends the message that no serious concessions will ever satisfy the community. This kind of approach undermines organizational credibility for future advocacy work. Negotiation requires compromise from both sides, and SSQL refuses to acknowledge that reality. In doing so, they obstruct further progress at the Congressional level.”

    To this I respond with a quote from a famous(ly criticized, but now lauded) activist:

    You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.
    – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “Furthermore, Stanford University, as a premier institution of learning, trains the future leaders in practically every field. Its students carry with them the values of tolerance and equality that are embodied in its mission and forward-thinking culture Stanford ROTC graduates will be future military leaders who are equipped not just with military training but also the values of this institution. Their courageous leadership will undoubtedly promote progress from within the organization.”

    While admire the optimistic belief that all Stanford students are liberal, pro-queer, and willing to fight for trans rights, this is the weakest argument in the entire piece. I can think of at least four students that are proud prop 8 supporters. I know at least 15 who are conservative/right of center, but are open to learning about the issues. I know even more who are just politically apathetic. Even if everyone on campus were a Huffington Post commenter, how would they suddenly become trans rights activists? To mirror Question’s comment, most people on campus are *still* unaware of trans discrimination. Some don’t even know what transgender means. Heck, even President Obama didn’t acknowledge trans discrimination. Whether you agree with the methods or not, SSQL is doing the right thing by making this an issue, and having the university stand by its nondiscrimination policy would be the best way to send a message about discrimination. As Question said, that’s how many universities sent a message about DADT. DADT was initially hailed as positive, step-wise progress as well, yet the efforts of uncompromising activists got it repealed.

    “We hope that the queer community will recognize the opportunity for exchange and learning that ROTC’s return will bring and support the members of our greater Stanford community who will be the emissaries of our values.”

    Once again, you propose that Stanford students will transmit queer-rights vibes to the military. Even if this characterization of the Stanford populace were true, how would bringing ROTC campus enhance or alter this effect? Is there something special about Stanford soil that will change ROTC? If Stanford students fit the criteria that you set, wouldn’t current ROTC cadets already be implementing this change? I’ve seen this argument again and again but there’s always something crucial missing in the leap between “supporting ROTC = supporting queer rights.” This argument was rare before the repeal of DADT. I think you were getting at this in the beginning of your piece, but what has variables have changed that make trans discrimination an acceptable compromise the way DADT was not? I hope that the you (the authors) or a like-minded commenter can answer my questions, as I sincerely wish to understand this position.

    You wrote: “We cannot expect this change to be immediate. No civil rights movement has ever happened overnight. What we can do is accept DADT’s repeal as a step in the right direction and use this progress as a stepping-stone for further progress.”

    Again, I’ll respond with a quote from a man far more eloquent than I:

    For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
    – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    My apologies for the long-winded reply,
    LT

  • LT

    Whoops, sorry for the typos. I wish the comments section had a copy editor 🙂

    First line should read: trans discrimination is bad *and* needs to be resolved.

    “I think you were getting at this in the beginning of your piece, but what has variables have changed that make trans discrimination an acceptable compromise the way DADT was not,” should read: “what variables have changed.”

    Thanks.

  • Robin Thomas

    @ LT: Care to give us a tl;dr? 🙂

    @ Question: Very, very good point. They certainly raised awareness, which was a great thing.

    @ Sallman and Sijstermans: Thankyouthankyouthankyou for having written this. My whole life I’ve been an avid supporter of gay and gender queer rights. The militarism of SSQL (ironic, right?) only served to make me feel estranged from that movement.

    One of my closest gay friends also talked about how he was uncomfortable with SSQL being seen as representative of the whole LGBT movement, because he disagreed with many of their actions and perspectives, including on the issue of ROTC.

  • Marloes

    LT
    1. ” In the case of Prop 8, should gay couples have never sued the state of California?”
    This is an entirely situation as it is an antagonistic response to a set back, not an antagonistic approach to a step in the right direction

    2. While not all Stanford students are trans activists, we believe that trans rights are generally supported and that the large number of students who support trans rights can work with ROTC students in a constructive way.

    3. You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.
    The queer community has taken direct action that has led us to where we are at today with a major victory in the repeal of DADT. At this moment in time, the military and government appears to be interested in working with us and negotiating. We risk losing that opportunity if we refuse to negotiate at this time.

    4. what has variables have changed that make trans discrimination an acceptable compromise the way DADT was not?
    We said this multiple times – trans discrimination is NOT acceptable. I would have expected the queer community to respond in a more positive manner had trans discrimination but not DADT been repealed. Its a simple matter of human behavior and advocacy strategies – reward good behavior, punish bad behavior.

    5. “We cannot expect this change to be immediate. No civil rights movement has ever happened overnight. What we can do is accept DADT’s repeal as a step in the right direction and use this progress as a stepping-stone for further progress.”

    Yes, I stand by this. Are you saying that the civil rights for black Americans did happen overnight? Also, no one is suggesting that after allowing ROTC back we wait idly for trans rights. Simply that we take a more cooperative approach to advocacy with regards to military discrimination issues.

  • marloes

    @question

    Thank you and we agree with you. I am very grateful for SSQL’s leadership in bringing visibility to trans issues.

    Note (second sentence): “we applaud SSQL’s efforts to draw attention to these issues.”

  • law student

    “it [ROTC] constitutes a FUNDAMENTAL VIOLATION of Stanford’s Non-Discrimination Clause!”

    This is a myth.

    Stanford ROTC could not violate Stanford’s non-discrimination policy due to the military’s transgender policies. A plain reading of the policy shows that only unlawful discrimination violates the policy. The military’s transgender policies are lawful. Stanford may decide against inviting ROTC for other reasons, but not because the program violates the non-discrimination policy.

  • LT

    @ Robin Thomas
    Most of my comment is quotes. For a good tl;dr, Marloes addresses many of the pertinent issues in her comment.

    @ Marloes
    Thanks for your response.
    1. You’re right, Prop 8 is a false analogy. As my typos may indicate, writing an essay-length comment without proofreading isn’t the wisest decision :/ I should have referenced the mixed responses to civil union legislature, which is viewed as a step in the right direction by some and “not good enough” for others.
    2. I sincerely hope that your assessment is right. The difficulty we’ve faced in getting basic trans-positive changes on campus (gender-neutral bathrooms) makes me pessimistic.
    3. I’m not totally convinced. I think President Obama’s rhetoric on discrimination in the military (namely that it no longer exists), as well as the silence of military leaders during this moment in the State of the Union speech, speaks volumes. I fear that there will be a long, drawn out battle ahead, partially because trans folk comprise an even smaller and more invisible minority than gays and lesbians.
    Stanford is one of a few universities that include gender identity on our non-discrimination policy. I hope that we’ll stand by our commitment gender identity, which has measurable benefits of providing a safe and open environment for trans students and speaking out against discrimination, rather than taking a gamble on a hypothetical change in the military. In other words, I think that we can still enact change in ROTC, even if we don’t have it on campus.
    4. I agree we should reward good behavior and punish bad. But what if both happen at the same time, or worse, the bad behavior continues?
    5. Thanks for clarifying. I’m a bit on the defensive given recent op-eds and comments that dismiss trans issues entirely as a front for anti-militarism. I hope that whatever happens with ROTC, the administration and the student body remain committed to trans rights.

    – LT

  • Jim

    @LT – I don’t feel that most people are just dismissing transgender rights, but most recognize and acknowledge that the military’s restrictions regarding transgender individuals is fundamentally different than their restrictions were with LGB and DADT because they are based in the medical regulations. These are the same regulations that bring restrictions on age and other disabilities (two other things protected by the nondiscrimination clause), which I have yet to hear SSQL say much about. I take this to mean that they recognize that there are some level of acceptable medical standards for entrance to service in uniform – do you agree or disagree with that?

    If you agree, then I am guessing that you have an issue with the medical regulations as they are currently written. Concerns related to transgender individuals are around mental health, hormonal requirements, and potential need for surgery. These are not directed specifically at transgender individuals – others with mental health issues face the same fate, those requiring inhalers/insulin/ADD medication will too, and someone with the potential for a surgery (ie ACL reconstruction) will be told to go have it, recover, and then come back to see them. These conditions probably don’t apply to every transgender individual, but they certainly do apply to some, so the argument has to be much more nuanced and largely lies in the realm of medical professionals. Until you, SSQL, and others supporting this agenda acknowledge the medical nuances of the argument and stop just labeling it blatant discrimination on the part of the military, I don’t see you getting many people to engage with you too heavily on it because that is just not true. The way forward lies in focusing on the rights of those individuals who meet reasonable medical standards that come with the nature of the job.

    I commend the authors of this article – great points on the importance of engagement going forward.

  • SSQL is puppet of SSNW

    http://www.stanforddaily.com/2011/01/05/dont-ask-repeal-jumpstarts-rotc-debate

    Early in fall quarter, SSQL formed a subcommittee to investigate ROTC soon after Daniel Colligan, a graduate student in computer science and president of the group Stanford Says No to War, came to speak at one of their meetings. He presented his views on ROTC and asked the group if it would like to take a stance on the issue as well.

    “We had already been talking about the ROTC issue in light of DADT,” Balasubramanian said, “but he was definitely sort of a spark for us.”

  • @Jim

    “I don’t feel that most people are just dismissing transgender rights”

    No. But most people dismiss Alok Vaid-Menon, Janani Balasubramanian, and SSQL’s protest of ROTC because they’ve obviously been co-opted into the anti-ROTC agenda of SSNW.

    Stanford Daily, Jan 5 2011, ‘Don’t ask’ repeal jumpstarts ROTC debate:

    Early in fall quarter, SSQL formed a subcommittee to investigate ROTC soon after Daniel Colligan, a graduate student in computer science and president of the group Stanford Says No to War, came to speak at one of their meetings. He presented his views on ROTC and asked the group if it would like to take a stance on the issue as well.

    “We had already been talking about the ROTC issue in light of DADT,” Balasubramanian said, “but he was definitely sort of a spark for us.”

  • Confused

    I’m rather confused by the assertion the two authors are making in this op-ed. Essentially what it boils down to is this: Sallman and Sijstermans want to “compromise” and reward our military for “good” behavior and, therefore, mute the issues raised by SSQL on campus. This, quite frankly, does not make any sense whatsoever.

    Why would anyone reward a person for ceasing to discriminate against a minority group? The idea that you should reward someone when he/she stops discriminating is just utterly unconscionable. Discrimination is morally wrong; you DO NOT compromise on it. Smallman and Sijstermans don’t seem to understand that anti-discrimination is a principle that you are not to barter with; you do not trade equality for something else. Would you bribe the Klu Klux Klan? Pay off Holocaust deniers? You don’t reward bigots when they decide to stop being bigots; you move on to the next instance of bigotry. The fact is, deciding to end discriminatory practices does not signify “good” behavior; it’s simply the cessation of bad behavior, an entirely different thing. The military stopped discriminating against gays and lesbians, but this is not a noble thing, especially when you consider that it *still* discriminates against transgender individuals.

    We as a society should *never* give any individual or institution a free pass when it comes to discrimination, *especially* institutions significant to society like the military. If anything they should be held to an even higher standard, not a lower one. At the end of the day, discrimination will not disappear if we “compromise” or reward “good” behavior; this op-ed is a huge step in the wrong direction.

  • Horribly written article

    I was hoping for a concrete reason, but the most you can give is “the military is allowing gays in, you should be grateful! Not showing immense gratitude is HURTING your cause! Now trans people will have it even harder because you’re all being ungrateful little turds!” News flash: DADT was a grave injustice in the first place; nobody has to be grateful about ****. The changing of DADT is NOT reason for “shutting up,” because time and time again, gay rights are fought at the expense of trans people, i.e. they’re forgotten about. And now that gays have the right (here, to join the military without fear of persecution), they remember what it was like to be forgotten about.

    And your argument that somehow having an “aggressive” approach, which is actually just normal protesting, makes it harder for the trans cause makes no sense at all–the alternative is to do nothing. We students can’t go to Congress right now; we can’t be a lobbyist for our Congressmen now; but we can protest and, to the greatest extent possible, stop these injustices from coming to OUR sphere of influence, which is Stanford.

    This is a petty attempt to make some semblance of a retort to the queer claims of trans discrimination. It’s rather pathetic.

    @Marloes
    “This is an entirely situation as it is an antagonistic response to a set back, not an antagonistic approach to a step in the right direction”

    Uh, both DADT and Prop 8 were setbacks. DADT was a step in the WRONG direction in the first place, as was prop 8.

    @Jim
    “than their restrictions were with LGB and DADT because they are based in the medical regulations.”

    Would you stop spouting that BS on every ROTC post? It isn’t true, and you know it. Those medical regulations that they base it on include all sorts of “conditions” that the military doesn’t discriminate about. To say that this is about a medical problem is to willfully ignore the heart of the matter, probably to deflect attention from the true problem: plain, unbridled dislike. It also shows pure ignorance about what it means to be trans; for the majority of trans people, those so-called ‘medical regulations’ are not applicable. This is NOT a valid argument.

  • Jim

    @Horribly written article,

    It is far from BS and is true.

  • transgender protest is anti-military

    Confused: “Would you bribe the Klu Klux Klan? Pay off Holocaust deniers?”

    ROTFL … Did someone actually try to claim that the transgender protest of ROTC isn’t anti-military?

  • Michael Segal

    It is not clear that any legislation is needed to change any of the policies on transgender people in the military. Many have cited the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic manual definition of a “Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults” as what needs to be changed, but the DSM also defines “Premature Ejaculation” as a disease and that is not a reason for exclusion from the military.

    I agree with the authors. It is time to declare victory and move on to welcoming ROTC and continuing to work on changing the rules about transgender people in the military that need to be changed.

  • Warner Sallman

    @Confused
    The fact that you “Godwin’s Law”d yourself in middle of your response notwithstanding, the return of ROTC is not meant to be viewed as a “reward” but rather the next step in the process of reconciling the military with the queer community. We are avid supporters of the transgender population and do not agree with the military’s current policy. Instead we believe that in the wake of DADT, there can be a spirit of collaboration that would continue to push the military in a direction of tolerance and equality.

    @Horribly Written Article
    Aside from your titled criticism of me and my colleague’s writing abilities, I take issue with your interpretation of our tone. Not once did we make a single ad hominem argument in the piece. Again, no where in the piece did we encourage people to “shut up” or “remain silent” on the issue of trans participation in the military. This piece was meant to criticize the methods that SSQL is using and present an alternative perspective on the issue that I believe is representative of many silent voices within the queer community. If you continue to disagree with us, I encourage you to write a piece of your own to express that view. Both Marloes and I firmly believe in public debate but your emotional tirade ultimately undermines any critical point you could make.

  • SSNW/SSQL

    Warner Sallman: “the return of ROTC is not meant to be viewed as a “reward” but rather the next step in the process of reconciling the military with the queer community”

    That’s the difference between you and SSNW/SSQL. You want to unite Americans. SSQL is an agent of SSNW, and SSNW/SSQL is fighting against “reconciling the military with” Stanford, the queer community…you name it. The mission of SSNW/SSQL is to deepen the civil-military divide and grow domestic antagonism against the US military.

    It’s unfortunate that SSQL has discredited the transgender cause, but sacrificing transgender people is a price that SSNW will gladly pay to exclude ROTC from Stanford.

  • LT

    The ROTC believes that trans students have mental disorder that will prevent them from being able to run, climb, shoot, and learn about said activities. Stanford University believes that being trans has no bearing on a student’s capability for physical or intellectual activity and they should not be discriminated against for this immutable aspect of their identity.

    So I’ll ask, one more time, how will Stanford’s tacit approval of this discriminatory system influence the military to change that system?

    The only semi-response I’ve gotten is that we’ll change their system once they get here. Let’s step outside the Stanford bubble for just a second and think…maybe trans rights activists are already working to change the system? Maybe they think that it would send an incredibly powerful statement to the military and trans folk everywhere for the University to stand by its non-discrimination policy? Maybe we should stop being so self-centered and naive to believe that Stanford will magically transform a policy that has been contested for years? If we really care about trans discrimination, let’s think about the impact our actions will have on trans folk both on and off campus. What kind of message will we be sending to a group that is often excluded and ignored by the mainstream queer movement (see: Michigan Womyn’s Festival, GL vs. BT: The Archaeology of Biphobia and Transphobia Within the U.S. Gay and Lesbian Community by Jillian Todd Weiss) if we claim that the military has gotten rid of just the right amount of discrimination to let them back on campus. How will it look to trans folk interested in serving our military to pass the buck and say, “well, the gay kids are all right, surely the non-discrimination fairy will visit you too.” What kind of message does it send, after the release of Injustice at Every Turn, to condemn the actions of the only group fighting vocally for trans rights on this campus?

    Some queer students are content to reward the military for no longer being discriminatory against certain people. I’m not that easy to please. First of all, they shouldn’t get a pass for stopping something that was wrong in the first place. Military leaders are not children, and we are not handing out gold stars. Second of all, how on earth are we going to convince them to change by giving them what they want? I can just imagine it now: “ROTC, buddy, we love what you did with the gays last year! So here’s your new office, check out that view, eh? And the coffee maker’s over here…oh, before I forget, about that trans thing, do you think you can change…no? Well, uh, okay, enjoy the rest of your day!” Folks, the appeasement strategy does not have a good track record. Direct action leads to negotiation, not the other way around. Spoiler alert: I’m going to keep on being an aggressive, activist motherfunker because if it was good enough to get me my rights, it’s good enough to get trans folk theirs.

    – LT

  • Confused

    @Sallman,

    I have a question: did you support ROTC’s return *before* DADT’s repeal? Because if you truly believe in what you’re arguing, you would have agreed that barring the military from campus was not constructive in ending its discriminatory policies towards gays and lesbians………except it actually was!

  • Stanford ROTC good for gay soldiers

    I’ll turn the question around. Stanford ROTC and its graduates will help LGB soldiers. Stanford ROTC can take part in ensuring the transition from DADT is successful. In this fragile, possibly even reversible moment in history, why is SSQL so eager for Stanford to refuse to help LGB soldiers by restoring Stanford ROTC?

  • Jim

    I find it difficult to believe that a handful of schools barring the military from campus (either for recruiting or for ROTC) was a big concern for the military and had any real impact on the process to repeal DADT – maybe you some evidence to the contrary – if so, please share. Much more influential are people like Zoe Dunning (Naval Academy graduate, Stanford MBA) who stay engaged, not push away the military. (http://ebar.com/openforum/opforum.php?sec=guest_op&id=307)

    For those who think the military has a “plain, bridled dislike” I’d invite you to read the reflections of Allyson Robinson (West Point ’94, transitioned from male to female) following her speaking engagement to classes in West Point’s Behavioral Science and Leadership Department. (http://www.tavausa.org/News/TransgenderVetHistory.htm). First, the department was obviously open to inviting her to speak and welcomed her to campus. Second, she notes the respectfulness and general interest of the cadets in learning more. Finally, she notes the department head’s (and other active duty faculty members) openness to work with her on studies going forward.

    It is actions and engagements like these, not the barring of recruiters or ROTC programs, that truly make a difference.

  • Confused

    @Stanford ROTC good for gay soldiers,

    Why are you assuming that Stanford ROTC and its grads will help LGB soldiers? How you can just assume that to be fact? It’s rather arrogant to claim that Stanford will be the driving force to ensure that LGB soldiers get their rights, and its rather illogical to assume that ROTC’s presence on campus will have anything to do with that. Nothing but wishful thinking.

  • Stanford ROTC good for gay soldiers

    @Confused

    Because I believe in Stanford and Stanford students and graduates. It’s sad that you don’t.

  • A lot of dreamers here

    @ confused
    Why are you assuming that refusing to work collaboratively with the army will encourage them to continue to make changes we want to see?

    @LT

    “they shouldn’t get a pass for stopping something that was wrong in the first place”

    Uhhh…is there any civil rights battle that has been anything but that? If everything were perfect, what would we be working towards anyway?

    And if you’re gonna keep quoting MLK Jr. you better brush up on your history. Your activism tactics seem to be more in line with those of Malcolm X, who was also influential but in a much different way. In the end, although changes did occur (perhaps because of him, perhaps because of MLK Jr.) Malcolm X’s strategies attracted more extreme activists in smaller numbers (just as a few extreme agree with SSQL’s strategy — see petition). Ultimately, he drove a wedge between Blacks and Whites. MLK on the other hand, sought to close the gap between Black and White Americans.

    By refusing collaboration after a major victory and concession by the army, aren’t you simply increasing the gap between queers and military?

    You seem to fighting this fight simply to fight it. Keep in mind that your actions have real (non-symbolic) implications so I sincerely hope that you believe your actions will make the world a better place, not a worse one.

    @authors
    Thanks. Many of my queer friends and I agree with your statement and I’m glad the queer community is no longer being represented by a single voice.

  • @Warner Sallman

    I say it’s horribly written because it is, not in style but in structure–you don’t make any concrete point, argue your points with weak support, promote ideas that make no sense (and make me wonder how much you actually thought about what you were writing), etc. And sure you didn’t explicitly say “shut up” or “remain silent” anywhere in the article, but I’ll thank you not to undermine my and others’ abilities to read between the lines. We can see the point you’re making. It’s absurd. You not once explain how any of SSQL’s tactics are “antagonistic” or “aggressive”–apparently having opposition (due to outrage over discrimination) is just too much in itself. You also make the point that by allowing ROTC back on campus, we’ll be effecting change re: the trans issue, which really doesn’t make any sense. If we aren’t to take out our frustrations with the military, but with Congress (who enacts these kinds of policies), how does training military leaders effect change? Seems to make more sense that Stanford would produce people in Congress who would change the policies; and it already does. Of course, even if what you said made sense, you are essentially arguing for something which is inherently immoral and intolerable at Stanford: discrimination (“oh it doesn’t matter that ROTC will bring that discrimination to campus for a while, we’ll produce a bunch of leaders that will help change the trans policies eventually”). Stanford cannot and will not tolerate discrimination, plain and simple. Your admission that it’s “okay” for now is, frankly, disgusting.

  • Robin Thomas

    Ahh, nothing like objective, constructive, and purely impersonal criticism and healthy debate. I’m sure glad we don’t have any name-calling, finger-pointing, or loaded-adjective-using going on here. Nope, none at all.

  • @Robin Thomas

    “debate”

    This isn’t a debate. It’s a competition.

  • a combat veteran (ROTC grad)

    I’ll say this again–this whole debate,argument,competition or whatever you want to call it is idiotic. It doesn’t matter. 5 months after I graduated and was commissioned, I was leading an Rifle Platoon in combat. It didn’t matter if they were neo-nazis or Frisco drag queens, all that counted is that I acclomplished our missions and got as many back home, alive, as possible. What they did on their own time was not my concern. If they wanted numba one boom boom or whatever, fine. But when they were on my (and Uncle Sam’s) time, they had better be strac all the way. This is not,repeat NOT a game. Be prepared. If ROTC comes back to Stanford, there’s a chance that some of those cadets, gay,straight,black,hispanic, or white won’t be around for future homecomings. Think about what you’re arguing about.

  • Pro Peace

    While I do think it is absolutely valid to consider the military’s stance on discrimination based on sexual orientation, I feel like everyone is forgetting the larger argument of why should Stanford University host ROTC at all?
    I do not believe that it is a university’s duty to enable its students to train to make war and kill people. If students want to join ROTC that is completely fine, but they can go off campus and take part in that. Why does our campus have to host the institution of the military, thus implicitly endorsing everything that comes along with it?

  • @Pro Peace

    Yeah! And the archery club should be disbanded. After all, weren’t bows and arrows created to kill people and furry woodland creatures?

  • “implicitly endorsing”

    “Why does our campus have to host the institution of the military, thus implicitly endorsing everything that comes along with it?”

    There’s also a Subway on campus. Stanford is implicitly endorsing everything about Subway. Subway’s gotta go!

  • Anti-Military

    Those ROTC students should have to continue commuting to Berkeley. They’re in the military, right? Can’t they just take Black Hawks back and forth?

    Also, Stanford needs to ban NSA scholarships, implode SLAC, and expel all student veterans. That autonomous helicopter project probably has military applications — it’s gotta go too.

    How many more must die before the military is banned from Stanford?

  • lol@above comments

    Love the straw-man arguments replying to Pro Peace… (it’s okay to disagree with his/her viewpoint, but your retorts are childish)

  • @lol

    You do not know the difference between a counterpoint and a straw man fallacy. Fail.