VITAL SIGNSrnA Letter to SenatorrnJohn Kerryrnby John LoftonrnSex and SoldieringrnMy, how time flies, sir. It seemsrnlike only yesterday (it was in laternNovember 1991, actually) that you werernapologizing after being caught telling arnso-called gay-bashing anti-lesbian jokernto Jerry Brown. You remember, the onernthat was inadvertently picked up by a CSpanrnmicrophone. I thought that whatrnwas wrong with the joke was that itrnwasn’t all that funny, really. But, hey,rnthat’s history. And, obviously, you’ve reformed.rnI know this because I saw yournon the NBC Today show (January 28,rn1993) fighting for the “right” of “gays” tornserve legally in our military. In fact, I sawrnyou saying, flatly: “We should not have arnpolicy that discriminates and kicks peoplernout because of their sexual orientation.”rnGays? Now, there’s a once-fine wordrnthat has been corrupted, has it not? Yourrnaverage homosexual is anything but gay,rnanything but full of mirth and lightheartedness.rnThese folks are full of ragernand hate. They ought to be calledrn”glums” or “grims”—anything but “gay.”rnBut I wonder, senator: Do you reallyrnbelieve that people with any kind of sexualrn”orientation” ought legally to be inrnour Armed Forces? I ask you this, sir, becausernI’ve been reading a little bit in ThernMerck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapyrn(one of the standard and best-knownrnmedical texts), the American PsychiatricrnAssociation’s Diagnostic and StatisticalrnManual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III),rnand the admittedly less well-known Encyclopediarnof Aberrations: A PsychiatricrnHandbook, published by the PhilosophicalrnLibrary. After reviewing the—whatrnshall I call it?—interesting smorgasbordrnof sexual “orientations” in these books, Irnthink the case can be made that wernshould try to exclude more people fromrnour military on the basis of their sexualrn”orientations.” I know. I know. You’rernprobably saying, “No way! That wouldrnbe crazy, bigoted, intolerant,” all that.rnBut hear me out, please.rnFbr openers, the DSM-III, in a sectionrntitled “Psychosexual Disorders,” informsrnus that there are four groups of such disorders:rn”Gender Disability Disorders,”rnwhich are “characterized by a person’srnfeelings of discomfort and inappropriatenessrnabout his or her anatomic sexrnand by persistent behaviors generally associatedrnwith the other sex”; “Paraphilias,”rnwhich are “characterized by arousalrnin response to sexual objects or situationsrnthat are not part of normativernarousal-activity patterns and that in varyingrndegrees may interfere with the capacityrnfor reciprocal affectionate sexualrnactivity”; “Psychosexual Dysfunctions,”rnwhich are “characterized by inhibitionsrnin sexual desire or the psychophysiologicalrnchanges that characterize the sexualrnresponse cycle”; and “Other PsychosexualrnDisorders,” which come in two categoriesrn—”Ego-dystonic Homosexuality”rnand a residual category known as “PsychosexualrnDisorders Not Elsewhere Classified.”rnSo what exactly are we talking aboutrnhere, senator? Well, for example, wernhave the “orientation” known as transsexualismrn—a “heterogeneous disorder”rnwhere a person, to put it mildly, doesn’trnlike what sex he/she is and “persistentlyrnwishes to be rid of one’s genitals and livernas a member of the other sex.” Thisrn”discomfort,” we are told, frequentlyrnleads to cross-dressing, that is dressing inrnclothes of the opposite sex—a form ofrnfashion Pat Buchanan alerted us to inrnhis speech before the Republican Convention.rnNow, I don’t want to appear closemindedrnhere. Because it’s true that withrnhormonal treatment and electrolysisrnsome male cross-dressers can be renderedrnindistinguishable from membersrnof the opposite sex they are impersonating.rnAnd I never had the honor of beingrnin the military. I didn’t even go to college.rnBut it does seem to me that havingrna transsexual in our Armed Forces couldrnbe a problem.rnSpeaking just for myself, one redbloodedrnAmerican heterosexual marriedrnman with three grown children and threernsmall grandsons, I know that if I was arnyoung man in the military today, I wouldrnfind it very disconcerting to be bunkingrnand showering with a guy perpetuallyrndissatisfied with his own genitals, a manrnwho might, just might, take matters intornhis own hands and try to alter his plumbing.rnAt the very least, I would find it potentiallyrndisruptive in my unit to see arntranssexual, or several transsexuals, reportingrnfor duty in dresses—particularlyrnif one of these individuals was my commandingrnofficer.rnIn addition, at future Tailhook conventions,rnand at similar get-togethers, itrncould be potentially traumatic to havernmale members of our Armed Forces sexuallyrnharassing individuals they honestlyrnthought were women only to find outrnthat these persons were men. Also, suchrntranssexuals, undetected, under currentrnaffirmative action programs, might bernunfairly promoted over men, evenrnthough they are, in fact, men.rnThough I am not an expert, it would,rnagain, appear that there might be problemsrnin our Armed Forces with paraphiliacsrn—those who require unusual andrnbizarre imagery or acts for sexual excitement.rnThese generally involve; one, usernof a nonhuman object for sexual arousal;rntwo, repetitive sexual activity with humansrninvolving real or simulated sufferingrnor humiliation; or three, repetitivernsexual activity with nonconsenting partners.rnThe specific paraphilias describedrnin the DSM-III are: fetishism, transvestism,rnzoophilia, pedophilia, exhibitionism,rnvoyeurism, sexual masochism, andrnsexual sadism.rnSo what exactly are these sexual “ori-rnJULY 1993/49rnrnrn