Ron Kirkland Comes Out Against Unisex Bathrooms

Well, that’s burying the lede now, isn’t it?

First of all, kudos to Nicholas Beadle for reporting the story behind the story on his blog at the Jackson Sun, Motion Carried. You probably have already heard that basically candidates Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith said that while they were in the military, homosexuals were “dealt” with.

Kirkland, a Jackson physician, referring to his training while serving in the Vietnam War era, told the crowd: “I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can’t describe to you.”

Smith, a chef from Mercer and a Gulf War veteran, responded: “I definitely wouldn’t want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said.”

I caught up with Kirkland after the event and asked him about his comment, noting that it could be interpreted as him condoning violence against gays. “It’s a joke,”

Dr. Kirkland, tell that to Matthew Shepherd. Tell that to the countless victims of hate crimes.

Tell that to the family of Allen R. Schindler, Jr. It wasn’t a joke when these people’s families had to bury them.

Beadle didn’t let Kirkland get away with it and continue to ask if he was condoning violence against homosexuals. Kirkland backtracked with this gem.

“Things don’t go well in military barracks when you have 50 guys sleeping on top of each other,” he said.

Kirkland said he does not want to infringe on a gay person’s right to serve in the military, but they should not live their lifestyle openly while in service.

After letting him take a few minutes to shake hands with people who watched the debate, I caught up with Kirkland again, and he said his comments should not be interpreted that he condones violence against gays.

“It was just the reality of the way things were,” he said. “It’d be the same as having men and women in the same barracks.”

He added: “I don’t even like unisex bathrooms.”

Smith said he had friends that were quietly “gay” in the military.

No Dr. Kirkland or Mr. Smith, you can’t have it both ways. Subtle or not, you still said they were dealt with.

Condoning violence doesn’t mean you have to use the word violence in the sentence. And you know that.

UPDATED: Aunt B. has some words too. As does JR Lind.

UPDATED from Michael Silence with the headline When Neanderthals Speak.

5 comments for “Ron Kirkland Comes Out Against Unisex Bathrooms

  1. April 30, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Smith must consider himself to be a very handsome guy. He should get over it. And Kirkland, what the hell? It’s on, is all I got to say.

  2. benintn
    April 30, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Silence = Complicity

  3. JDinTN
    May 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm


    First, your statement “Condoning violence doesn’t mean you have to use the word violence in the sentence. And you know that” is absurd. Dr. Kirkland was NOT condoning violence against homosexuals. Had you attended the forum, you would have heard what your beloved Beadle failed to report: immediately following this statement, Kirkland stated that the violence was not good and that he did not and does not approve of it.

    Just because Dr. Kirkland addresses the reality of the situation in an open and honest manner, does not mean he is endorsing that behavior. I can say “Racism exists.” Which is a true statement, but does not mean I myself am a racist.

    Second, you are missing the entire point he was trying to make with his “infamous” statement. Dr. Kirkland realizes that although the harrassment of homosexuals in the military is a tragedy, it does exist – as a result of human nature. While I think those guilty of violence towards should be punished, there are ways to prevent some of the aggression – don’t ask, don’t tell policy is aimed at doing just this.

    Third, by repealing this policy, you are not going to change the viewpoint of every homophobic soldier. The violence Dr. Kirkland was referring to is a result of an individual soldier feeling uncomfortable around another soldier – whether you or I understand those feelings of being uncomfortable or not does not matter – its still there. There are other problems, aside from violence, that stem from these uncomfortable feelings, and could affect the performance of either soldier in the line of duty – thus hindering their ability to do their jobs. So by not disclosing one’s sexual orientation, they are bypassing a number of problems – or at least minimizing them.

    This nondisclosure applies to heterosexuals, homosexuals, males, females – everyone in the military, and I think Dr. Kirkland would agree. His (Kirkland’s) statement about unisex bathrooms was about his own uncomfortable feelings about using them – he was not saying they were immoral or should be outlawed as the headline of this post seems to suggest. He used that statement, which I’m sure many would agree with (that unisex bathrooms are uncomfortable) to emphasized similar, and heightened, feelings that occur when heterosexuals males and heterosexual females, and comparably, when heterosexual males and homosexual males share barracks. Those feelings may vary from situation to situation, but they all root from the issues regarding sexual orientation.

    In closing: No, Dr. Kirkland does not condone violence of homosexual members of the military. Yes, he realizes it is a problem and, in regards to the question that was asked, he thinks repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would only add to this problem. No, Dr. Kirkland is not “against” unisex bathrooms – he would just prefer to use the men’s room.

    Perhaps you don’t agree with Dr. Kirkland on policy – so be it. But don’t misinterpret quotes taken out of context from an event at which you weren’t even present and use them as a basis to issue personal attacks on a man you have never met. Liberal or conservative, there is not room for misinformed, quick judgement.

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