The U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been in the news lately, largely because of an extraordinary man named Lt. Dan Choi. Choi is a graduate of the esteemed Academy at West Point. He's an Arabic translator. And he's an Iraq war veteran.
Choi is a California native, a valuable, capable soldier and leader who could continue to play a vital role for the United States in this time of war. But he can't. That's because Choi is a gay man.
His firing is a symbol of all that is wrong with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. More than 250 service people have been discharged from the U.S. military since President Obama took office.
In the wake of Choi's firing I've heard straight people ask, "Why do they have to tell? I've never walked up to anyone and said, 'Hello, I'm heterosexual.'" This letter is intended to challenge heterosexuals to "not tell."
Don't put any photos of you and your love on your work desk. People will surely ask who the person is. Did you meet someone new or have a fun date? Keep it to yourself. Company party? Go alone. If you do bring your spouse, introduce them to co-workers as your "friend" and don't touch them. If you're asked what you did for the holidays, you can't say "we" went. People want to know who "we" is. To be safe (remember, your job is in jeopardy), just speak of yourself, as if you went alone.
In fact, never use "we" when you tell any stories. People are already suspicious of you because you never talk about your life - because you can't.
Luckily, we live in a progressive and accepting community, but we all know people who need to be enlightened. The next time you're confronted by someone who doesn't understand how damaging and insulting "don't ask, don't tell" is to our gay and lesbian service members, please ask and tell.
Diane Morazán, Four Corners
Gay and Lesbian Alliance
for Diversity, Durango