The Military Veteran Wasn’t Stripped Of His Medals For His Sexuality – But For Expressing It

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One of those not so subtle differences which the modern world tends to be all too keen to ignore. There is indeed something called sexuality. Who we are attracted to. We can argue about how this arises, through environment through life, through endocrines or whatever in the womb, through genetic establishments.

Actually, we variously say all three about different parts of human sexuality. All that talk about the cycle of abuse, child abuse and pederasty etc, the entire point there is that it is learned behaviour. Varied explanations for homosexuality, say, talk about genetic and foetal development issues. But sexuality, how we prefer to get our rocks off, is a thing.

Military veteran stripped of medals and discharged for his sexuality could have honours returned

Well, no. Our military veteran wasn’t discharged because of his sexuality but because of his sexual expression. We don’t jail people because they attracted to children but because they bugger them. Equally the military. They’re really not worried about what or who you’re attracted to, they do care who you do what with.

Military veterans stripped of medals and discharged from the armed forces for their sexuality could have their honours returned as a bisexual Falklands sailor launches legal bid. Joe Ousalice, 68, served for nearly 18 years in the Royal Navy but was discharged in 1993 prior to the lifting of the ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces.

Entirely true that the Navy would hoick out anyone known to be gay or bi. But the point wasn’t the inclination it was the activity.

Perhaps that’s all most unfair and certainly other militaries have done it differently. Think it was the Spartans who near insisted that hoplites be bedding each other – creates that espirit de corps you see*. Modern armed forces take the opposite view, the jealousies engendered by private relationships kill that espirit de corps. Thus they crack down on heterosexual relationships within the same unit or up and down the command chain. Note, they don’t say that heterosexual men and women must not serve, nor must not serve together. Only that the expression of that love that dare speak its name not be done in that time and place.

Which brings us to that “discharged because bi-“. No, not really, discharged because partaking in bi sex while in the Navy. There is a difference and it is important.

As with the Catholic Church in fact. Nowt wrong with being gay, we’re all God’s special snowflakes. It’s the having sex outside a monogamous marriage between a man and a woman that’s problematic.

Yes, yes, I know, making such distinctions is pointless and messy, as with pissing into the wind. Still true though, the distinction between sexuality and sexual activity.

*Never really quite got that one, Greeks and Romans were just fine with pederasty but adult male homosexuality was something they generally didn’t hold with.

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The Mole
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The Mole

Reading the telegraph story isn’t it just a single medal that he was stripped of? His long service and good behaviour medal was revoked on the grounds he was convicted by a court martial of bad behaviour.

I’d be outraged if he had been stripped of all his medals (medals for campaigns that he fought in etc) but loosing the right to one specific medal is less prolematic. You can argue if it should have been considered bad conduct, the the loss of just one single medal isn’t itself a travesty.

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

If you break a law which was in force at the time, and which later is abolished, should you be given an automatic pardon? After all, you did do something clearly illegal at the time.

Conversely, if you do something which is not illegal, but which later becomes so, should you be retrospectively banged up? You might think this is unfair, but modern social media seem to apply that process to anyone they perceive to be right-wing …

surreptitiousevil
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surreptitiousevil

Given that the LS&GC is often referred to as the “20 years of undetected crime” gong, his problem wasn’t even actually the homosexual sex for which he was convicted but the gross breach of the 11th Commandment.

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

*Never really quite got that one, Greeks and Romans were just fine with pederasty but adult male homosexuality was something they generally didn’t hold with.

It was to do with social positions of power and status. They made a distinction between the sexual ‘giver’ and ‘receiver’. It was fine for an adult male to screw a woman or a child – both were below him in social status and the activity was therefore ‘fitting’. but with two adult males one would have to accept a subordinate position, and therefore be acting in a disgraceful manner….

timworstall
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timworstall

Yes, I know that. It’s the bit about their preferring hoplites to be in such a relationship that I don’t really get.

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

Perhaps to emphasise the power relationship in the military? Though of course we have rather limited information about social attitudes in Classical times, and so any evidence we do have may be treated with an excessive level of importance – such attitudes may not have been widespread and may just have reflected the prejudices of the source provider. And then, of course, it becomes accepted knowledge. It used to be the case that academics were expected to study vast amounts of primary source material before making a balanced judgement. The ready availability of secondary material, due to modern communications developments,… Read more »

Mark Magagna
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Mark Magagna

Theban Sacred Band, not Spartan as far as I can tell. Still Greek, but different city-state.