Saturday, July 7, 2007

Is there a similar 'don't ask, don't tell' philosophy in Saipan similar to Guam's?

The appointment of openly-gay Guam's supreme court justice Benjamin Cruz is old news, however in an article I found written about how his appointment came to be, it is my opinion that the island of Guam and the CNMI is similar in it's 'don't ask, don't tell' philosophy of GLBT issues, at least in the 70's & 80's.

Silva (1997) shares that "Cruz resumed to Guam in 1975 and for four years served as counsel to the governor. His eyes on election to the governorship, Cruz decided to keep his sexuality "under wraps for a while" and date women. He says Guam's social and political culture maintains a "benign intolerance" of homosexuality--a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy that has allowed the island's gays and straights to coexist in peace, if not equality."

However, in the 90's it appears that Guam is accepting of openly-gay individuals serving the community as Silva (1997) shares "in 1995 Cruz stunned both his supporters and detractors when he publicly proclaimed his homosexuality in an issue of Latte, a Guam periodical on local culture. While he worried he might be "putting a glass ceiling over my head by granting the interview, I decided that whatever happened, happened. I had to be true to myself and the community." His fears proved unfounded. "Ninety-nine percent of the reaction to the Latte piece was positive," he recalls. "People just came up to me and hugged me, saying I gave them hope.""

Is there a similar 'don't ask, don't tell' philosophy in Saipan and if so is it changing?


Silva, D. (November 25, 1997) Cruz control: newly appointed Guam supreme court justice Benjamin Cruz may be the nation's highest-ranking gay judge. The Advocate. Retrieved on July 8, 2007 from

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