Barney Frank: Straight Soldiers Must Shower With Gays, But Not Women With Men

December 21, 2010 - 5:39 PM

Barney Frank, bank bill

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

( - Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.) says he agrees with the recommendation of a Department of Defense (DOD) working group that straight and gay military personnel of the same gender should be required to shower together when the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law goes into effect.

Frank, however, said Armed Forces personnel of opposite sexes should not shower together.

“What do you think happens in gyms all over America?" Frank said when asked by about the working group's recommendation that straights be required to shower with gays. "What do you think happens in the House of Representatives? Of course people shower with homosexuals. What a silly issue. What do you think goes wrong with showering with homosexuals? Do you think the spray makes it catching? I mean people shower with homosexuals in college dormitories, in gyms where people play sports; in gyms elsewhere. It is a complete non-issue. ” then asked Frank why he thinks it is a non-issue.

“To accept the principle that homosexuals can’t shower with other people is a degree of discrimination that goes far beyond this. We don’t get ourselves dry cleaned. We tend to take showers when we go to the gym; when we play sports,” he responded.

Rep. Frank continued, “The notion that knowing that someone is gay or lesbian as opposed to knowing that they are gay or lesbian people that have to pretend who they are; that that somehow makes a difference is pretty silly,”

Frank was also asked if he thinks male and female military personnel should be able to shower together.

“No that would disrupt people,” he said.

As previously reported by, a special DOD working group appointed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in anticipation of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, said in its November 30 report-- “Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” --that permitting heterosexuals to use separate showers, bathrooms and bunking facilities from homosexuals of the same gender would “stigmatize” homosexuals and be “reminiscent of ‘separate but equal’ facilities for blacks prior to the 1960s.” The working group recommended that separate showers, bathrooms and rooming facilities for homosexuals and heterosexuals be "expressly prohibited" by the military.

Barney Frank, bank bill

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., speaks on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

“Do you think that gyms should have separate showers for gay and straight people?” Frank told when asked about the recommendation. “Do you think that there ought to be separate showers in gyms? If not, then why are you in the military?”

Rep. Frank also said he agrees with the DOD working group’s recommendations. “I don’t have a problem with the recommendation. If people don’t want to shower with gay people, then they better not play sports, they better not belong to gyms, they better not go to colleges where not everybody has their own bathroom,” said Frank.