Mac

Gays In The Military

108 posts in this topic

Even in that case - and assuming one of the injured person is HIV-positive - contamination is far from likely. In any case, it's not more likely than it would be for hepatitis for example, and probably many other horrible diseases.

Again, if you want to prevent HIV-positive people from serving in the military, test for HIV.

(And even if we would want to adopt some kind of precaution principle, there's no reason why HIV-positive patriots couldn't serve outside of combat zones.)

Joss, have you ever seen a war zone? Have you ever seen the amount of wounds and blood that are in a war zone? If a person gets shot there is going to be a splattering of blood. And in a combat scenario people do not have to have been shot to have open wounds. Spending days in the field crawling around in prone positions can cause blisters that turn into open wounds. If you do not agree I challenge you to spend just a few days in the woods crawling around for hours at a time and see what that generates on your skin. Then times that by months spent in the field where you lack such common things as a shower, clean clothes, band-aids, lotions, deoderant, sufficient amounts of food and water and so much more.

But, please do not misunderstand my writings as I could really care less if gay people want to join the military. But I also think you will find it quite difficult to get total cohesiveness in a military unit where the warriors (and that is what the military is supposed to be full of) will not accept someone because of their value choices and that is the reality of the military as I knew it. The military is not the place to start cultural trends and for the most part most warriors I have served with or met specifically seperate themselves from most people in a culture because of those differences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This might not be the area for this question, but since the subject has been raised.

I would like someone that thinks there is such a thing as a "gay gene" to explain to me how the gene was passed on through more than 4 billions years of evolution without dying off? Now realize you will have to overcome and probably destroy the idea of natural selection. And, you will also have to overcome how the "gay gene" was passed if a male or a female only had sex with another person of the same sex. You might also have to explain away free will because there are many people that think they have a gene for being driven toward having many sexual partners, anxiousness, manic depression, asssertiveness, alcoholism and the list could go on and on.

But, I disagree with the whole idea. In general genes carry the instructions and template for producing and assembling amino acids and proteins into anatomical structures. Behavior or mental traits are the product of an interaction between anatomical structure(s) and experience(s) (which explains why identical twins can have totally different outlooks on life and achieve totally different values). It has been stated that mental activity emerges from the integrated action of more than 20 billion brain cells of which some are influenced by as many as 10,000 synaptic connections which did not exist at one's birth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The personality that a person has is not the result of their genes, nor was it something that was consciously "chosen" by them at some point in their life. It is something that probably psychologically develops during some pivotal early years as a child. I would guess homosexuality could be similar in causation. It doesn't have to be a dichotomy between "choice" and "genes".

Could it be a biological issue? As I understand it's a fact that, from a technical, medical, perspective there are more than two sexes, indeed several. For example, some children are born with both sets of organs and the doctor generally makes a decision on which set to keep. If there's a choice involved, one could evade his sexual preference and not act on it. Perhaps a preference, whatever the source, is not a clear choice in that it has a biological component, just as my preference for women has a biological component. Or possibly a choice was made sometime in one's life led to his current preference or even that hormones might have something to do with it.

Finally, I don't see why so many straight guys have such a problem with gay come-ons. I don't see why it's not just a nice compliment.

Now that I have a "mature" grasp of homosexuality, I must admit that I do find such come-ons, whether from a gay man or a straight woman, compliments. Who wouldn't?

And lastly, given that our leaders have decided they will use our military as peacekeepers rather than for self-defense, we are going to need evey willing and able body. I don't see the logic of turning people away without a very good reason. I completely agree that the effectiveness of the military comes first, and no one has a right to be a soldier, but I think we should be careful not to let that become a rationalization.
Amen!

Maybe not important, and again off-topic, but the Marines (unlike the other branches) take seriously moral issues -- right or wrong. While I'm at it, Marines are not soldiers except in a broad sense. What is the hiearchy? Warriors>Soldiers>Marines. Or backwards. Marines take their slogans seriously. Ex., "Semper Fidelis": Always Faithful, which I've found can also be translated (my own preference) as Ever True. Marines do hold contradictory codes:

1. Duty. God. Country.

2. Honor. Courage. Comittment.

I subscribe to the latter, although when I enlisted in the Marines I took the former.

Marines ("First to Fight") I know do come down harder against the homosexual issue than those I know in the other branches.

"Once a Marine, Always a Marine." is another slogan with really fundamental moral ideas beneath.

Journalists often grate on the nerves of we Marines. We are not soldiers.

Opologies for so many off-topic issues. Don't see that I'm offering much in the way of answers that my original topic was meant to find. But happy to see so many intelligent thoughts from others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mac as Marines are something infrequently seen in history except for their intellectual ancestor in war, the Spartans. Marines become comfortable in spartan (no pun intended) surroundings as can be demonstrated in the amount of money that the Marines live off of in comparison to the other military forces. If I remember correctly the whole of the Marine Corps monetary funds, which come from the Navy's monetary funds, is only 6% of what the Navy gets every year. While other military forces are spending their funds on raising the happiness of their service members and their families (along with other things) the Marine Corps spends their money on new devices for war and the upkeep of older devices of war. Drive on to an Air Force base and look at the young enlisted quarters and notice how new and contemporary most of them look. Drive on to a Marine Corps base and notice how old most of the enlisted and officer quarters are. For example, in 1990 I was living in an open squad bay with about 80 to 90 other men that was built in the 1940s. In 1996 while stationed at Camp Pendleton I signed for a house on base that was originally signed for by a Marine in 1943.

With the breaking of my neck and all the discomforts that have come from that injury I have been asked if I would join the Marine Corps again. My stock reply is "Hell yes!" The recruiting advertisement "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" is not just hype, it is true and for most of those that choose that path the pride is earned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with Mac as Marines are something infrequently seen in history except for their intellectual ancestor in war, the Spartans. Marines become comfortable in spartan (no pun intended) surroundings as can be demonstrated in the amount of money that the Marines live off of in comparison to the other military forces. If I remember correctly the whole of the Marine Corps monetary funds, which come from the Navy's monetary funds, is only 6% of what the Navy gets every year. While other military forces are spending their funds on raising the happiness of their service members and their families (along with other things) the Marine Corps spends their money on new devices for war and the upkeep of older devices of war. Drive on to an Air Force base and look at the young enlisted quarters and notice how new and contemporary most of them look. Drive on to a Marine Corps base and notice how old most of the enlisted and officer quarters are. For example, in 1990 I was living in an open squad bay with about 80 to 90 other men that was built in the 1940s. In 1996 while stationed at Camp Pendleton I signed for a house on base that was originally signed for by a Marine in 1943.

With the breaking of my neck and all the discomforts that have come from that injury I have been asked if I would join the Marine Corps again. My stock reply is "Hell yes!" The recruiting advertisement "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" is not just hype, it is true and for most of those that choose that path the pride is earned.

Your speech reminds me of that great book of Heinlein's, Starship Troopers (and the film was great too despite the best attempts of its pacifist director at killing the book).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This might not be the area for this question, but since the subject has been raised.

I would like someone that thinks there is such a thing as a "gay gene" to explain to me how the gene was passed on through more than 4 billions years of evolution without dying off? Now realize you will have to overcome and probably destroy the idea of natural selection. And, you will also have to overcome how the "gay gene" was passed if a male or a female only had sex with another person of the same sex. You might also have to explain away free will because there are many people that think they have a gene for being driven toward having many sexual partners, anxiousness, manic depression, asssertiveness, alcoholism and the list could go on and on.

But, I disagree with the whole idea. In general genes carry the instructions and template for producing and assembling amino acids and proteins into anatomical structures. Behavior or mental traits are the product of an interaction between anatomical structure(s) and experience(s) (which explains why identical twins can have totally different outlooks on life and achieve totally different values). It has been stated that mental activity emerges from the integrated action of more than 20 billion brain cells of which some are influenced by as many as 10,000 synaptic connections which did not exist at one's birth.

Ray,

I have no substantial knowledge of genetics/heredity/evolution or anything beyond basic biology at all. I don't have any idea as to whether or not there is a "gay gene" but I do find it to be the most plausible explanation. My reasons for this along with what I said earlier is that I didn't choose to be attracted to women. I never made a conscious decision that I liked women. By a certain age, I just wanted to look at beautiful women (preferably naked with no idea why, I don't see how it's really any different than hunger/thirst besides it not be a necessity of survival and arrives later on). I could never choose to be attracted to a man. Even if I could (very hypothetically speaking) somehow be induced to be let's say euphemistically "involved" with a man, nothing could ever make that experience in and of itself pleasant for me. I couldn't possibly choose not be physically attracted to beautiful women. No matter how great a woman is I couldn't desire her sexually if she was not sufficiently physically attractive. Of course physical appearance isn't even especially important in romantic love but it's simply the basic foundation of sexual attraction, and it makes sense that most (if not everyone) has such sexual attractions because of genes or some physiological chemistry, etc. that necessitates such attractions. I simply don't see how there could possibly be so many gay people that are so psychologically confused or imbalanced that they choose or are impelled to act against their natures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This might not be the area for this question, but since the subject has been raised.

I would like someone that thinks there is such a thing as a "gay gene" to explain to me how the gene was passed on through more than 4 billions years of evolution without dying off? Now realize you will have to overcome and probably destroy the idea of natural selection. And, you will also have to overcome how the "gay gene" was passed if a male or a female only had sex with another person of the same sex. You might also have to explain away free will because there are many people that think they have a gene for being driven toward having many sexual partners, anxiousness, manic depression, asssertiveness, alcoholism and the list could go on and on.

But, I disagree with the whole idea. In general genes carry the instructions and template for producing and assembling amino acids and proteins into anatomical structures. Behavior or mental traits are the product of an interaction between anatomical structure(s) and experience(s) (which explains why identical twins can have totally different outlooks on life and achieve totally different values). It has been stated that mental activity emerges from the integrated action of more than 20 billion brain cells of which some are influenced by as many as 10,000 synaptic connections which did not exist at one's birth.

Ray,

I have no substantial knowledge of genetics/heredity/evolution or anything beyond basic biology at all. I don't have any idea as to whether or not there is a "gay gene" but I do find it to be the most plausible explanation. My reasons for this along with what I said earlier is that I didn't choose to be attracted to women. I never made a conscious decision that I liked women. By a certain age, I just wanted to look at beautiful women (preferably naked with no idea why, I don't see how it's really any different than hunger/thirst besides it not be a necessity of survival and arrives later on). I could never choose to be attracted to a man. Even if I could (very hypothetically speaking) somehow be induced to be let's say euphemistically "involved" with a man, nothing could ever make that experience in and of itself pleasant for me. I couldn't possibly choose not be physically attracted to beautiful women. No matter how great a woman is I couldn't desire her sexually if she was not sufficiently physically attractive. Of course physical appearance isn't even especially important in romantic love but it's simply the basic foundation of sexual attraction, and it makes sense that most (if not everyone) has such sexual attractions because of genes or some physiological chemistry, etc. that necessitates such attractions. I simply don't see how there could possibly be so many gay people that are so psychologically confused or imbalanced that they choose or are impelled to act against their natures.

I started a new thread with Ray's post as the start, 'cause this is a bit off topic for this thread, if you want to post there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your speech reminds me of that great book of Heinlein's, Starship Troopers (and the film was great too despite the best attempts of its pacifist director at killing the book).

I have never read the book nor seen the movie, but your remarks have stimulated an interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your speech reminds me of that great book of Heinlein's, Starship Troopers (and the film was great too despite the best attempts of its pacifist director at killing the book).

I have never read the book nor seen the movie, but your remarks have stimulated an interest.

The book is good, and worth the read. I haven't seen the movie, but I understand it did not follow the book closely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your speech reminds me of that great book of Heinlein's, Starship Troopers (and the film was great too despite the best attempts of its pacifist director at killing the book).

I have never read the book nor seen the movie, but your remarks have stimulated an interest.

The book is good, and worth the read. I haven't seen the movie, but I understand it did not follow the book closely.

The film was intended to make you feel like the US was a fascist, war-obsessed dictatorship. But it fails miserably at this, in my view (it was seeing the film that, in part, made me seek Heinlein, because I was so impressed by the ideas underlying it).

There are parts which will make you cringe:

But then you get priceless parts, such as this one from 1:05: *WARNING, GRAPHIC*

Reminded me of Jimmy Carter and Obama's approach to international relations with pure enemies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If one is 'propositioned' by a homosexual, surely a grown soldier can respond in a mature way. Such a proposition would be unbecoming of a soldier and likely lead to dismissal.

But in the military context, problems could start even before a proposition is even contemplated.

Living with members of the gender one is attracted to the extent expected of people in the military, is bound to lead to occasional, crystal-clear reactions of attraction. That is the issue for me, one which may exclude women from serving in the military as well.

(FYI: I am not a homosexual. I have never served in the armed forces (red-green colorblind.) I'm not a student of the related disciplines. I'm fully open to the possibility that my preliminary views are way, way off.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for gays in the military, I often wonder why people think gay men (or women) would be any less dedicated to defeating an enemy that they were willing to risk discharge for conduct unbecoming?

Speaking for myself, I don't doubt any service person's desire to defeat the enemy -- not without specific evidence. Further, I've never heard anyone claim that homosexuals in the military are/might be less committed to the purpose and/or specific mission of the military.

Let's be honest about rational gay men and women: they don't go around making romantic passes where nothing but disappointment can result - or worse.

But what about the point that, in the military context, it would be difficult, maybe even impossible, to not show signs of attraction? Isn't that enough to start causing problems?

No matter how respectful I may have been of context, it would've been almost impossible for me to sleep in the same barracks with, work out with, shower with, go to the bathroom with, train with, and fraternize with hundreds of women and not give away the fact that I would be attracted to X number of them. Even if I could pull that off why on earth would I want to? And what would be the longterm consequences to my psyche for torturing myself in this way for 2-5 years? What of the impact on the traditional military model?

As for two gay men or women BECOMING romantically involved WHILE in the military together, I don't see how that would be any different from a man and woman in the military from doing the same.

It's no different, which is why, for now at least, I'm leaning towards the idea that perhaps women shouldn't be taken in by the military either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It really is no different than the segregating of blacks, but even that in and of itself wasn't (especially for those blacks who were not drafted) a violation of individual rights. It was a combination of overt racism and top brass believing combat effectiveness would be hindered by the conflicts of racial integration. It is obvious that integrating blacks in the long run greatly increased combat effectiveness but in the short-term it was not an idiotic concern for commanders to have.

The issue of allowing openly gay people in the military is really no different (although I think having a problem serving with a gay is significantly less irrational than not wanting to serve with a black man). In the long run, more qualified, talented gay people will join and improve the combat effectiveness of our military if allowed to serve openly. In the short term, it will probably make a lot uncomfortable/angry and decrease morale somewhat (as integrating blacks almost surely did). It's unclear how much long-term gain there is to be had but certainly there is some. It's inevitable eventually the long-term benefit will outweigh the short-term cost if prejudice against gays continues to decrease. I have not seen any good reason ever offered for why gays should not serve openly in the military other than it would bother other servicemen, which already makes little sense. Everyone knows there's no good way to prevent closeted gay people from serving and many do effectively, but if they say they are gay for some reason now a straight soldier can't do his job. This seems like a poor reason to me to . Also, it's not like units are gonna start watching Will & Grace together just because gays are allowed to serve openly (although a segregated openly gay platoon could be a hilarious tv show premise). All that is needed is an objective cost/benefit analysis regarding combat effectiveness.

Banning gays from military service may be different from segregation based on race in this sense: we're asking people to delve into a context where it's perfectly healthy to find oneself attracted to others and show almost uncontrollable signs of that attraction. That's a metaphysically given factor in a healthy person, one which may reduce military effectiveness. For me at least, this is the only issue. Who cares if the last human being on earth you'd consider romantically makes his or her attraction to you clear?

Further, even if in a more rational society, gays could serve without impacting effectiveness, I'm not sure that we're there yet. Since we agree that the military is not the place to push a social agenda, perhaps the integration of homosexuals in the military, if it turns out to be a non-factor, should wait until it can be done with as few adverse side effects as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(And even if we would want to adopt some kind of precaution principle, there's no reason why HIV-positive patriots couldn't serve outside of combat zones.)

There is that hierarchy where, at some point in a massive conflict, anyone may be asked to do anything. In my understanding of military structure, that is a huge point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It certainly is wrong, but no one forces anyone so irrational to serve in the military. If you know you don't want to have any exposure to gays, or blacks, or this, or that, simply don't enroll.

Well, at least part of the point here is that enrollment of men and women who are openly gay may cause a drop in enrollment. Given the function of the military, and how real change is achieved historically, this open policy towards homosexuals may not be advisable at this time. As of now, I have no problem with the military being the last place we see social enlightenment.

(All these posts on an issue I'm not qualified to comment on: I really need to take it easy on the coffee!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(And even if we would want to adopt some kind of precaution principle, there's no reason why HIV-positive patriots couldn't serve outside of combat zones.)

There is that hierarchy where, at some point in a massive conflict, anyone may be asked to do anything. In my understanding of military structure, that is a huge point.

As I have stated earlier, the military is supposed to be full of warriors and that killing the countries enemies is the warriors primary function as everything else is to be considered secondary. Maybe the Marine Corps and the other military services have changed their policies since I left, but if they have I think it is a huge mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the defining point was made here by Ray:

But I also think you will find it quite difficult to get total cohesiveness in a military unit where the warriors (and that is what the military is supposed to be full of) will not accept someone because of their value choices and that is the reality of the military as I knew it. The military is not the place to start cultural trends and for the most part most warriors I have served with or met specifically seperate themselves from most people in a culture because of those differences.
(my emphasis added)

Regardless of how irrational something may be, there is such a thing as trying to impose a change faster than the culture could constructively respond to it.

I have many positive things to say about the young military members of my generation whom I have met, but if there is one thing I can not say about them--and I mean this in no disrespectful way--it is that they are tolerant or 'cultured'. None of the military members whom I have met would be comfortable working alongside a homosexual, and I find it almost impossible to believe that they (homosexual men) could earn their trust in the same way that a heterosexual man would.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your speech reminds me of that great book of Heinlein's, Starship Troopers (and the film was great too despite the best attempts of its pacifist director at killing the book).

I have never read the book nor seen the movie, but your remarks have stimulated an interest.

The book is infinitely better than the movie. Personally, I found the movie horrible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It certainly is wrong, but no one forces anyone so irrational to serve in the military. If you know you don't want to have any exposure to gays, or blacks, or this, or that, simply don't enroll.

Well, at least part of the point here is that enrollment of men and women who are openly gay may cause a drop in enrollment. Given the function of the military, and how real change is achieved historically, this open policy towards homosexuals may not be advisable at this time. As of now, I have no problem with the military being the last place we see social enlightenment.

(All these posts on an issue I'm not qualified to comment on: I really need to take it easy on the coffee!)

That is also an argument that could have been used against having lacks in the military. Would you have supported that on the same grounds?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It certainly is wrong, but no one forces anyone so irrational to serve in the military. If you know you don't want to have any exposure to gays, or blacks, or this, or that, simply don't enroll.

Well, at least part of the point here is that enrollment of men and women who are openly gay may cause a drop in enrollment. Given the function of the military, and how real change is achieved historically, this open policy towards homosexuals may not be advisable at this time. As of now, I have no problem with the military being the last place we see social enlightenment.

(All these posts on an issue I'm not qualified to comment on: I really need to take it easy on the coffee!)

That is also an argument that could have been used against having blacks in the military. Would you have supported that on the same grounds?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joss, have you ever seen a war zone? Have you ever seen the amount of wounds and blood that are in a war zone? If a person gets shot there is going to be a splattering of blood.

I'm not disagreeing with that. I'm saying that even if there are open wounds and a splattering of blood, contamination is not a given. Obviously, if you have a splattering of contaminated blood inside an open wound, basically a surgical injection, then there's likely to be contamination. How often does that specific event occur?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(And even if we would want to adopt some kind of precaution principle, there's no reason why HIV-positive patriots couldn't serve outside of combat zones.)

There is that hierarchy where, at some point in a massive conflict, anyone may be asked to do anything. In my understanding of military structure, that is a huge point.

As I have stated earlier, the military is supposed to be full of warriors and that killing the countries enemies is the warriors primary function as everything else is to be considered secondary. Maybe the Marine Corps and the other military services have changed their policies since I left, but if they have I think it is a huge mistake.

Cute and all, but even during world war II, that didn't happen. If we're ever in a situation when everyone must fight, I do think that HIV will be the least of our concerns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joss, have you ever seen a war zone? Have you ever seen the amount of wounds and blood that are in a war zone? If a person gets shot there is going to be a splattering of blood.

I'm not disagreeing with that. I'm saying that even if there are open wounds and a splattering of blood, contamination is not a given. Obviously, if you have a splattering of contaminated blood inside an open wound, basically a surgical injection, then there's likely to be contamination. How often does that specific event occur?

I have no numbers for how often someone gets HIV/AIDS from another military member and do not know if the military even keeps those type of items. But if a person did have the virus in a war zone scenario I think the chances of being infected would increase quite a bit by the very nature of war. And one factor is that most people signed up to fight a war for freedom and are willing to die in the defense of freedom, most are probably not willing to die from attempting to save any person with the virus which signs their own death warrant.

In Marine Boot camp and many times after that Marines learn how to do many medical emergency type actions, such as closing sucking chest wounds, CPR, and many others. Learning all this is very important as a Marine knows that they cannot win a war with just themselves and must attempt to keep themselves and their troops alive if winning the war is ever going to happen. So if I am in the field with a person that is HIV infected and they get shot, or lose consciousness, or almost drowned while swimming from a ship to shore then I am supposed to do all that I can to save him and still achieve the objective. In the Marine Corps one is taught to live by two main principles; accomplish the objective and take care of one's troops. Now if I know that one of my troops has the virus, whether he is gay or not is not going to have any thought in my mind. What is going to be in my mind is whether or not I want to die trying to save him. And most likely while I am pondering this over I am not paying attention to my surroundings and get myself and my men killed and I fail on both objectives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(And even if we would want to adopt some kind of precaution principle, there's no reason why HIV-positive patriots couldn't serve outside of combat zones.)

There is that hierarchy where, at some point in a massive conflict, anyone may be asked to do anything. In my understanding of military structure, that is a huge point.

As I have stated earlier, the military is supposed to be full of warriors and that killing the countries enemies is the warriors primary function as everything else is to be considered secondary. Maybe the Marine Corps and the other military services have changed their policies since I left, but if they have I think it is a huge mistake.

Cute and all, but even during world war II, that didn't happen. If we're ever in a situation when everyone must fight, I do think that HIV will be the least of our concerns.

I did not mean that everyone, civilian and military, must fight nor did I say it is happening or happened in the past. I meant that one's main job when joining the military is to defend this country and the people in it. If one wants to primarily be a computer programmer they should not join the military. If one wants to primarily be an administrator they should not join the military. If one wants to primarily be an airline pilot they should not join the military. If a person joins the military then they are primarily a sailor, an airmen, a soldier or a Marine which means that they should all primarily be defenders/warriors for this country and the people in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who then is in charge of refuelling, feeding, healing, allocate materials, load boats (or planes), unload boats (or planes), drop bombs from a mile or 2, etc, etc? There are plenty of spots where the likelihood of two people being exposed to each other's blood is extremely remote. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that if you take the military as a whole, even in war, that's the situation for most military personal.

As a side note, this is still not a reason to keep gays out of the military. HIV-positive maybe, gays not.

As for your example, I don't see how any one soldier would know that there comrade in arm is HIV-positive (and I don't know why or how they would be more likely to learn that than hepatitis, for example).

Also, as a reminder, HIV is certainly no fun but in the Western world it's not a death sentence. I know of people who have been HIV-positive for 16+ years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites