Creep of the Week: Gen. James Conway

It’s no secret that there’s a horde of gay guys waiting in the wings to join the military the second “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gets repealed. And we all know where they’re headed: the Marines. Because only the Marines bunk two to a room.

Let’s be real — gays who join the military don’t want to serve the United States. They don’t want money for college. They don’t want to learn to fly airplanes or spin a rifle around. No. They join for all the hot, straight ass.

Or at least that’s what Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway thinks.

Conway is speaking out publicly about what a terrible idea it is for queers to be allowed to serve in the military without having to do so in secrecy and shame. On March 26, published Conway’s thoughts on the matter. Like other folks who oppose repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Conway says it will be “disruptive.”

And it seems a big chunk of his concern is centered on sleeping arrangements.

“I would not ask for our Marines to live with someone that is homosexual if we can possibly avoid it. And to me, that means we gotta build [bachelor enlisted quarters] that have single rooms,” he said. “I would in this case want to reserve the right of a Marine who thinks he or she wouldn’t want to do that, OK, and again that’s the overwhelming number of people that said that they wouldn’t like to do so.”

Well, on the one hand, I suppose building totally separate quarters would be good news for the construction industry, since they are hurting in this economy and all. But wouldn’t that also be, oh, I don’t know, segregation? A separate-but-equal kind of thing? I mean, gosh, I don’t know a lot about history, but I can’t help but wonder if there are any examples of this sort of thing in the military not working out in the past?

And Conway says the majority of Marines he’s asked say they wouldn’t want to room with a homo. His survey methodology might be part of the problem.

“I’ll tell you my technique. When the Sergeant Major and I are at a townhall and young Marines ask us the question, What do we think? We reverse it. We say, ‘OK, it’s important we know what you think,’” Conway says. “We ask three questions. Do you think that homosexuals serving openly in the Marine Corps would have adverse impact on good order and discipline? Do you think, same question, would have adverse impact on unit cohesion? And Sergeant Major asks the question of, Would you be willing to live with a person who has declared himself or herself as being openly homosexual?”

First of all, this line of questioning assumes there are no gay Marines in the audience, which is insulting. Secondly, it’s hard to imagine a Marine, surrounded by a bunch of other Marines in an environment known to be hostile to gays being addressed by a honcho who is openly antigay, hearing that third question and shooting his hand up in the air. “I do! I want to live with a homo! Pick me, pick me!”

But let’s say there are lots of Marines who are freaked out by homos in their midst. There probably are. But instead of further institutionalizing the marginalization of gay soldiers, isn’t it time for the Marine Corps to just grow up?

D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock ’n’ roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister.