Life Without Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Americans have been actively debating lately on an old policy referred to as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, a policy that allows the military to investigate its applicants’ sexual orientation and to prevent openly gay guys and girls from joining and serving in the military. The Democrats put back this question on the table last year in yet another effort to repeal this old policy, and due to the newly acquired power of the Republicans, to no

...that's until yesterday, when the happy news came out: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” has been repealed. Big win for LGBT rights activists and for a number of personalities who are highly sensitive and personally implicated in this issue from Barak Obama to… Lady Gaga. The reaction in America is nothing less than a jubilation - take a look at this excellent mashup on the subject from the Huffington Post.

But just like the U.S. is geographically, this debate is thousands of miles away from the level of our own debate here in Lebanon. Here, it is hard to even imagine putting the words “gay” and “military” in the same sentence. As a matter of fact, we’re not even able to put on the national debate agenda an archaic law that criminalizes homosexuality, let alone actually repealing it… but this post is not just another bashing of our infamous Article 534 – it’s about our very own version of don’t-ask-don’t-tell.

When I first heard there was a movement in the States to repeal don’t-ask-don’t-tell before I knew what it meant, I thought: Who the hell would want to revoke a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy? can you imagine what life here would be like for us gay guys in particular, if it weren’t for the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy that the Lebanese people sort of abide to nowadays: "If I don’t ask or tell you my religion / political affiliation / what turns me on, then please, don’t ask or tell me in return."

Knowing how indiscreet and judgmental Lebanese people can be, sometimes we can almost hear through their thoughts as they scrutinize us wondering to themselves ,“does he have a girlfriend?”, “is he married?”, “is he gay?” – what would it be like if they did not keep at least some of their questions internally to themselves? I mean it’s one thing to be “out” and comfortable with oneself as a gay guy, and another thing to have to deal with this kind of people’s questions and opinions on a daily basis…

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, not a ring: just please, never ever repeal don’t-ask-don’t-tell in Lebanon!

- By Gib#2. Photo credit: The Huffington Post


  1. This is a very creative link shown above. But I have to say I don't agree...
    I'm not criticizing or being negative, I just think that everyone who's gay should be able to openly and comfortably express themselves. I realize that it is much more tricky and difficult in Lebanon, taking into account society, culture and law. However, I still believe that not "telling" is not positive at all. And I know that this article only refers to the situation in Lebanon, but hopefully LGBT rights will soon exist here too.

    What I mean to say is that although it is really difficult to be openly gay in Lebanon, we should not just accept this, but try to change this suppressive "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

  2. Agreed Aline, not telling is far from being ideal. But Lebanon sometimes makes you tired of being idealistic, and just want to be left in peace. Mentalities are already starting to change and as gay people we'll certainly evolve as they do, but rushing them still can mean a big personal sacrifice...


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