Kenyon Farrow responds to those, like Dan Choi, who say DADT repeal is a way to end economic inequality:
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that about one-third of all homeless people in the US are veterans, but about 1.5 million more veterans are at risk of homelessness "due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing." They also report that 56% of homeless veterans are Black or Latino.
Other studies show that one in four veterans becomes disabled as a result of physical violence or emotional trauma of war. There are currently 30,000 disabled veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By all record of delivery of medical, psychological care, and work rehabilitation by the US military or government has been dismal.
That first statistic is something that should be outrageous: if former employees of any other employer in the US constituted one-third of the American homeless population, there would be at least be investigations into why that is and demands that the employer change its employment practices and help pay for services for its former employees.
Instead, this employer gets parades, while the employee gets maybe a few quarters from the people who don't pretend that he simply doesn't exist.
And that's exactly the argument - the military isn't just another employer. It's receives broad license to recruit where it wants to, it is fully funded by the American government, it represents the American people abroad, and it's being used as a law enforcement agency. We also acknowledge that workplace conditions are going to be harsher than at a normal workplace - that's the nature of the job, a job that has a special place that should be outside the normal profit model so that it's not easily abused.
DADT repeal is right for lots of reasons. Farrow mentions an end to a form of discrimination. I'd add that most people who enlist who are LGB are young enough to perhaps not know their sexuality yet or to not really grasp what it means to go into the closet, 24/7, for four or more years of one's young adult life. If we do care about the lives of people in the service, as the counter-recruitment argument goes, then a homophobic policy that adds to stress and psychological torture that's enforced in a classist, sexist, and racist manner should be opposed.
But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't suddenly support military recruitment of queer people. Not only is there no guarantee that the military will become a gay-friendly employer (especially with a non-discrimination provision being cut out of the DADT repeal bill), the military's predatory recruitment tactics will only be heightened when it comes to LGB youth who are more likely to lack financial and emotional support from family to pursue a better career and are more likely to be homeless and looking for someone to take them in. While the military may be a temporary solution to that problem, the evidence leads me to believe that it'll only exacerbate long-term homelessness.
Moreover, it's just plain not a good job and shouldn't be seen in the same terms as other employment is, employment that has basic workplace protections and can last for longer than several years. We should be agitating for job creation, an end to workplace discrimination and school bullying, and financial support of homeless queer youth that helps them get educated and trained for the civilian workforce. If having a stronger economy and a less-desperate-for-work population hurts military recruitment, so be it - the children of those who agitate for war can enlist.