Back in the wonderful Nineties (Nirvana, 2Pac, The Matrix, Fight Club, etc…), I took a break from my normal Navy telecommunications gig to spend a few years in a special assignment as an Equal Opportunity Advisor.
To become qualified as an EOA, I had to attend three months of very intense and in-depth training at the military’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Let’s just say becoming an EOA is not the typical choice of an extremely White and WASPy dude like myself; so, due to the lack of other white, WASPy dudes like myself enrolled at the institute, it was one of those rare times in my life where I was in both the racial and gender minority for any significant amount of time.
Sometimes the mojo magic gets to workin’ in me and gets me going on a post and before I know it that post is a mile long…
Such is the painfully apparent case with the original “Hey Author, let’s make a deal” post.
Yeah…I went to read over it again this morning, before my coffee had a chance to bake in…not good.
That sucker’s so long it makes the Great Wall of China look like the Just Above Average Wall of China…
It’s so long it looks like I’m getting nothing but sympathy “Likes” on it. You know those kind of “Likes”…if I “Like” it, maybe it will then just go away…
But what I’m trying to do with the post is important to me so I’m compelled to shorten things up a bit so you can actually finish reading something of mine in at least one sitting.
So, to reiterate what I reiterated way too many times in the original post but what you probably managed not to read anyway, here are the key points of what is so important to me and what I would like us both to do:
(Since newsletters are probably the best way to engage with your readers, I strongly encourage all of you to fire one up, as well. If you do, let me know. I’d be happy to subscribe. (: )
Just like the original.
. . . .
Um, excuse me, before you go. . .
I know, I know. . .
I am always receiving feedback from readers of my so-called “navy stories” that initially the readers were hesitant to read them because, let’s face it, who really cares about what’s going on in the navy. Aren’t they the kind of stories that only a certain kind of people, sailor people perhaps, would only want to read?
My answer to that is, sure these are stories with a navy setting, but they aren’t necessarily about just navy things.
Because all this is so fundamental to who I am, I have been planning to discuss all this much more in depth later, but in my About page I mention that I consider myself a Human Relations kind of guy. I believe I am qualified to say that because I spent a good chunk of my life studying humans…
I spent three months at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute for some hardcore Diversity and EO training.
I was then certified as a Navy Equal Opportunity Advisor, where I worked daily managing EO issues and providing EO and Diversity training all throughout the navy’s Western Pacific operating area.
And, I have a masters degree in Human Relations (go figure).
So my “navy stories” are mostly about what most stories are about — humans and how we relate with each other. Which is often, not so well.
And these stories specifically put a special emphasis on those difficult relationships…relationships dealing with sexual orientation and race and gender issues and our perceptions and stereotypes of them and the harassment and harm we sometimes inflict on each over them.
So yeah, these stories, most of which you can read online for free right here, are navy stories in the sense that that is where they are set. . .
But it was my intent and my hope that they be stories that transcend way beyond just the navy and right into the heart of all of us.
September 20, 2011, will be a historic day for our country, and a special day for me.
It will be historic because the United States’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy will finally be put to rest.
And it will be special to me because I hope to release my novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR on that day in honor of the historic event.
But, like the cup half empty kind of guy that I am, I won’t believe either will happen until I actually see them happening…
But I’m hopeful it will all come true.
I can hardly believe that DADT is finally coming to end because it has been a powerful presence in my life since my decision in 1994 to work outside my career field of telecommunications, and outside of my comfort zone, to become a navy Equal Opportunity Advisor. My duties as an EOA required me to become thoroughly familiar with the DADT policy and to facilitate seminars and focus groups regarding it at navy commands throughout the Western Pacific. A key element of my training was not to just remind sailors that they could not ask about someone’s sexual orientation, but also to make it very clear since it had become an issue in the military that, just because their values or stereotypes or perceptions or prejudgments motivates them to do so, doesn’t mean they can harass or abuse or murder someone who they perceive has a sexual orientation that is contrary to their beliefs. I use the word “perceive” because rarely do homosexuals violate DADT policy by telling others, especially others hostile to their lifestyle, about their sexual orientation. Consequently then, the most likely way a homophobic person can be motivated to act upon his or her (mostly his) homophobic tendency to want to harass or abuse or murder is by perceiving a service member to be a homosexual based upon the perceived homosexual’s behavior or personal characteristics. Facilitating the discussion of such a sensitive, and often combative, nature for three years was very challenging, yet very rewarding for me.
If I can hardly believe that DADT is finally coming to an end, I can only wonder how one feels who loves his or her country so much that he or she was willing to join the military knowing that the DADT policy required him or her to suppress his or her identity and sexual orientation in order to serve. (Normally, because I am a man and because I choose a male identity for myself (It’s a gender thing, you wouldn’t understand…probably.), I would not bother with all the “he or she” and “his or her” distraction; I would simply just write “he” or “his,” just as I would expect a female writer to just write “she” or “shis,” I mean, “sher,” I mean, “her,” but I feel in this situation, it is important for me to highlight and reiterate the fact, in an effort to remind everyone, that both men and women have chosen to make this enormous sacrifice for their country. Talk about Patriots. All you heterosexuals out there go ahead and try imagining what it would be like to not only not be allowed to tell others who you love, but also to not be allowed to completely express your love to the person whom you do love. Hard to imagine, isn’t it, since it’s our privilege to not have imagine such an absurd way of life?
And I can hardly believe that my novel is finally going to be released because it, too, has been a powerful presence in my life for nearly as long as DADT has been. Consequently, I find it hard to believe that in a few short days I will finally be able to call the project complete.
And I also can hardly believe that my novel is going to be released on September 20, 2011, since it is only a few short days away and, because of a few issues I am contending with, I still have yet to complete the publication review process with the publishing service I am using. So, at this point, September 20, 2011, is more like a target release date than a set release date. But we’ll see.
Regardless of whether my novel is actually published on September 20, 2011, or not, the date will always be special to me since it was DADT, or more specifically, since it was all the harassment and abuse and even murder that was inflicted on so many service members because of DADT, that provided the unfortunate impetus for why I wrote the novel to begin with.