September 20, 2011 marks the end of the military’s policy of expelling all homosexuals from the service. One part of the military policy, largely ignored and hidden from public view, was a policy formally termed “Indoctrination” that taught new enlistees why homosexuals were evil and a threat to the nation. It is one of the few examples of officially-sanctioned teaching of homophobia to literally millions of Americans.
A script was written to be voiced by the “line officer,” the “Medical Officer” and the “chaplain” to be given during the first weeks to all new enlistees. The script was to be followed without variation.
The script provides a time capsule of common American views of homosexuals, the consequences, the type of constant fear of police reprisals and job loss, and even suggests that the outcome for homosexuals was often murder or suicide.
CitiReport obtained the script through the Freedom of Information Act after several unsuccessful efforts through various government offices. Most often the official channels denied that such a script existed or had ever existed. It is found in Attachment Two of the Navy’s 1957 report prepared under Captain Crittenden that recommended an eventual re-evaluation of the policy.
That re-evaluation took more than 40 years.
What follows is the script for the “MedicalOfficer” in charge of the entering recruits. It is preceded by the “line Officer’ and followed with the concluding remarks of the “Chaplain.”Each script is a separate post in this Special CitiReport on the day that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell came to its end.
The medical officer, particular one that specialized in psychiatry, is interested in homosexuality as an abnormal form of human behavior.
While the duties of the medical officer are principally those of understanding and caring for sick people, he must maintain the broad point of view which is directed to the understanding of all types of behavior–good and bad, normal and abnormal, individual and group.
This does not mean that he approves or excuses homosexuality any more than any type of behavior which is socially unacceptable such as thievery, alcoholism, and drug addiction.
Homosexuality is NOT on the increase, but that which is present is wide-spread and homosexual activity occurs under varied circumstances. The psychiatrist encounters individuals throughout this range from those who are exclusively homosexual, that is, having no interest in the opposite sex, to those who “dabble” experimentally at one time or another. Because of the wide variation in homosexual activity, each individual concerned needs separate study and evaluation.
Generally speaking, homosexual activity is the manifestation of failure on the part of the individual to grow up sexually which leads to personality disorders in adult life. This is true whether the individual be exclusively homosexual or only a “dabbler.”
In this process of growing up, individuals not infrequently have one or more sexual experiences with someone of the same sex and relatively their own age on the basis of curiosity and experimentation. The psychiatrist considers this commonly occurring sexual activity of childhood and early adolescence as a developing and growing up process which has very little to do with the subject under discussion today–that is, the homosexual activity of the grown-up adult. What you have done in your younger and developing period of your life is not to be taken as placing you in the position of the person under discussion today or to be in a position of danger.
To draw a comparison, it is not that you wet the bed as a child but do you wet the bed today.
By virtue of the fact that you are now in the Navy, you are considered grown-up and adult behavior is expected of you. If such behavior is not forthcoming, you will be held accountable. To pause one moment and think–this is not unlike civilian life where cultural, social and educational influences serve as a constant curb to a person’s wishes, desires and actions which are considered as not being mature or grown up.
Some individuals, under various and possibly innocent circumstances, may become involved or participate in a homosexual act. They then contend that they themselves are not “homosexual” and offer this as a defense of their behavior. Medically speaking this may be true but from the Navy’s point of view such a medical opinion makes no difference whatsoever. In the Navy, you are not accused of being “homosexual” but you are accused of engaging in a homosexual act. Obviously, it takes two to comprise a homosexual act and, in so far as the Navy is concerned, one party of the act is as guilty as the other of an offense against the naval organization and its social structure.
Several common misconceptions exist about homosexuality and it is these misconceptions which lead people into trouble.
One such misconception is that it is easy to identify a practicing homosexual by his feminine mannerisms and characteristics. This is not true. The majority of practicing homosexuals are quite masculine in appearance and some are outstanding athletes.
Another common misconception is that those who engage in homosexuality are safe from acquiring venereal disease. This is also not true, as both gonorrhea and syphilis can be readily contracted through homosexual relations. From the clinics of several large cities, survey reports indicate that one out of every four cases of venereal disease admitted for treatment acknowledge homosexual contacts as the source of the infection.
Practicing homosexuals are notoriously promiscuous and not very particular in whom they pick up–infected or otherwise.
A third misconception is that homosexuals are born and not made. This [illegible][leads?] to the beliefs, first, that nothing can be done medically for the confirmed homosexual and, second that an individual who is not born a homosexual can participate in acts without danger. Neither of these beliefs are true.
Treatment is available for even the confirmed homosexual but this is not an obligation of the Navy Medical Corp. As to the second belief, repeated dabbling in homosexuality in late adolescence as well as in adulthood can and frequently does constitute the making of a homosexual.
Some who start as “dabblers” or “experimenters” progress steadily to become exclusive homosexuals in their behavior. Experimentation, therefore, aside from constituting an infringement on society as well as Navy standards, is dangerous in its own right.
In this entire problem, the medical officer has a two-fold interest; first, and upper most, he is a naval officer and has an interest in the Navy as a whole. It is his duty to help eliminate disturbing and undesirable factors in the Navy service such as confirmed homosexuals.
In the second place, as a physician and as a psychiatrist, he offers his knowledge of and experience with behavior disorders in helping those who are concerned about this problem. In this latter capacity, he maintains an open door attitude to all, and he is available for interview at your request.
And now let us introduce Chaplain _ who will speak on the social, moral, and spiritual effects of homosexuality.