In this series of essays, I am focusing on the question, what should be expected of someone (like me) who perceives himself as “different”.

That’s not quite the same thing as asking how politicians and the rest of the establishment should treat me, or articulating their moral theories, which may be self-serving for “their” purposes. Yes, if I want to be recognized by others, there are ways I “should” behave. It’s especially apparent that people have tended to regard me a possible burden on others who take the risks I run away from, when at the same time I draw public attention to myself. That seems to be the heart of the matter for me. And, yes, one can apply inductive reasoning and imagine a philosophy of handling those who are “different” altogether. Maybe that sounds scary. It should.

So my approach, when starting my book series, first emphasized “rights”, particularly what should be sacrosanct from government and public interference and coercion. I want to review here how that notion progressed in the book series. My thinking went inside out. It did start with, so to speak, “gay rights”, most specifically at first the debate over gays in the military as the issue had evolved in the 1990s. It was immediately apparent, even then, that “gay rights” was a proxy issue for something much bigger, about the proper relationship between an individual’s self-definition and the “collective” needs of the concentric societies (note the plural) containing him. Again, what’s “proper” (or lawful or “constitutional”) isn’t the same matter as what is right for the individual to do and expect.

I proposed, as a core principle, on page xiii, “do we believe in the principle that every adult person is totally responsible for himself or herself?” I could speculate on a lot of reasons why we often don’t. Then, on p. xiv, I wrote “Homosexual curiosity allegedly obstructs the socialization of men in collective pursuits (like the military) that protect society, and male homosexual practice is believed to endanger public health.” Of course, a statement like that convey an artificial reality created by power-sustaining politicians needing scapegoats. I connected my experience in a freshman dorm in a civilian college to the “privacy” (and later “unit cohesion”) arguments made against lifting the gay ban, and I also connected it to some civilian workplace and family issues. There seemed to be an issue with connecting sexuality to later family responsibility, and the idea that gays could “lowball” the system, otherwise “freeload” on it and undermine the socialization of those who make the real personal sacrifices for common good.

In the last chapter, I proposed a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would become the eleventh of the “Bill of Rights”, in thirteen sections. I guaranteed the “right to privacy” for consensual adult sexual relations (even in the military in most cases), eliminated the draft, protected the woman’s right to choose in the first trimester, and protected speech in some ways. But I was naïve about the ability to keep living a double life (I didn’t yet realize how the Internet would plat out), and about allowing censoring material children could find, believing filters or adult screening could work (as of 1997). I had proposed a 27th Amendment on “Marriage” which may sound like DOMA, but I wanted to let the states experiment and encourage variation. I did not grasp how quickly the marriage equality fight could progress once it would reach a tipping point ten years later.

I saw the military ban as inimical to “people like me” because it seemed like a proxy for the idea that the “me’s” of the world didn’t carry our weight. I didn’t see marriage as a pivotal issue in the 90s, because I had come to equate procreation [under conditions of prior “managed courtship”] with having more responsibility for others (anyway). I also said that government-subsidized benefits for relationships should be given only when there are real economic dependents in the family.

When I followed up with “Our Fundamental Rights” at the end of 1998 (Feb. 11, 2016), I focused on categorizing various kinds of rights at various levels, and then enumerating in my own way the rights that in a constitutional sense should be “fundamental”. We were still living in the world of Bowers v. Hardwick then; Lawrence v. Texas has not yet been written. But the first chapter of the booklet I devled more into the moral paradoxes of “self-ownership” in a somewhat larger sense. In a general way, richer societies place a greater value on personal autonomy or individual sovereignty, compared to smaller, tribal, and often religious cultures with lower technology, where “enemies” and the survival of the group as a whole is a much bigger priority, calling on the discipline and containment of every citizen. Still, that provides fodder for moral theories imposed by leadership.

In 2000, I had printed another booklet called “Bill of Rights 2” which I “withdrew” after 9/11 and instead replaced it with a second “Do Ask Do Tell” book at the end of 2002. I included the intended chapter on BOR2, but also provided a sobering assessment of the response to terrorism. I covered areas like conscription or national service, objections to gay rights when under stress, censorship, and the new issues associated with the permissive and increasingly efficient technology of self-publishing, equals self-broadcast. But here I was building on an idea I had thrown out in just one sentence near the end of DADT-1 in 1997, a “Bill of Responsibilities”.

I waited until 2013 to write my DADT-3. At this point, I had turned the tables around, and reviewed all the expectations on me to conform to the expectations of the “groups”, regarding chore or risk sharing, sexual values, the new opportunities to be heard (or “listened to”), the modern workplace, and the new challenges of eldercare given population demographics. The introduction talked about the importance of our strengthening ability to function together as “social creatures”, largely out of sustainability concerns. There are fiction stories in the second half of the book to reinforce the ideas.

(Published: Thursday, March 3,  2016 at 11:15 PM EST)