[Letter to the editor]The military is no place for gays

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[Letter to the editor]The military is no place for gays

While visiting a cousin recently, he told me about how he was sexually harassed by his superior while serving in the military.
At the end of my cousin’s military service, he filed a lawsuit against that superior, who was fined and sent behind bars. However, my cousin has to live on, haunted by the memory of abuse.
My cousin’s story was enough to make me feel reluctant to serve in the military. It also made me seriously think about banning gays in the military.
These days, people have become more tolerant about homosexuals and transsexuals as the media fantasize about them as new, exotic and even comical figures.
Movies like “Love and Trouble” portray a woman falling in love with someone she thought was gay while at the same time she also confides about her love life to a roommate who turns out to be homosexual.
In Korea, television shows frequently report stories about the marriage of Ha Ri-su, a Korean entertainer who is a transsexual. Everyone praises her for her boldness and courage.
I am not bothered by the endorsement of gay rights in Korean society, but when it comes to the military and national security, this should not be tolerated.
First of all, gays in the military will lower the effectiveness of the military. Although some gays may be very talented, those who demonstrate or engage in homosexual conduct will seriously impair people’s capacity to accomplish military missions.
Specifically, the presence of gays in the military will harm the mutual trust and discipline which are fundamental prerequisites of the military.
When heterosexuals learn about the presence of homosexuals in the same military base, it will result in an increase of homophobia and mistrust among the comrades. This lack of credibility and team spirit will surely be detrimental during times of war.
The military is a place where every soldier should be on the alert at most times and should live in a restricted area with other people with minimum privacy. This includes not only training together but also eating, sleeping and taking showers together.
Due to this characteristic of military life, the military tries to exclude barriers such as sexual interest that might distract the comrades’ concentration during their service. This is probably why male and female soldiers don’t share rooms in the military.
With all this in mind, it makes no sense to have homosexuals together with heterosexuals, when homosexuals clearly have a sexual interest in the latter.
Also, it would be indeed catastrophic if a military superior is a homosexual who can abuse his authority, as happened in my cousin’s case.
To illustrate the point in another setting, it would be impossible for a surgeon to perform surgery if that person is afraid of blood. This is because the nature of the surgical table does not accommodate the nature of that person.
Similarly, homosexuals should not be allowed in the military because the nature of the military goes against the nature of homosexuals.
Banning gays in the military should not be considered as discrimination or prejudice against them, but a way for making the military as efficient as possible.
Once again, I have no personal objections to homosexuals revealing themselves in society, but the military should be an exception. This is because the military is a place that deals with national security and safety that concerns everyone in the country, including you and me.
I hope the issue about banning gays in the military will be dealt with seriously.
Precautions should be laid out so that there will be no more victims of harassment like my cousin.
Lee Joon-jong, a student at Gwacheon Foreign Language High School.
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