Great point, Orion. Progress is often a long, hard slog, and taking baby steps is often better than trying to force too many changes all at once (think of the French Revolution versus the American Revolution)... so the question really becomes, as you said, "Are we ready?"
Here are the basic findings from the Pentagon report
that Seiji mentioned in the original post:
When asked about how having a Service member in their immediate unit who said he
or she is gay would affect the unit’s ability to “work together to get the job done,” 70% of
Service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.4
When asked “in your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a co-worker that you
believed to be homosexual,” 69% of Service members reported that they had.5
When asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they
believed was gay or lesbian, 92% stated that the unit’s “ability to work together” was “very
good,” “good,” or “neither good nor poor.”6
So, it would seem that the military itself is ready.
But it's an interesting point nevertheless, the question of "how do we know when we're ready?" Is 70% to be high enough, or should be 80%, 90%, or 100%? It's a hard question to answer, and I think it really depends on the nature of the issue, the degree of injustice being committed, and the amount of harm to being done the people who are being treated unfairly. I think we can all agree that DADT is an improvement on the past 50 years, and that it isn't as grave a problem as were slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynchings or unequal suffrage.
On some issues, the level of injustice isn't so intolerable, and gradual reform might be the best approach. But sometimes, not wanting to stir the pot, and telling people to just be patient and waiting for public opinion to change, can be painfully, tortuously slow - and in those cases, a strong push for reform can be a very good thing (the women's rights and African American civil rights movements are good examples). Which side of that continuum the gay rights movement is closer to is an open question.
I think that gays and lesbians actually face far more numerous issues in the home and social environments, rather than in problems that the government can actually legislate away. So there's something to be said for the fact that our government has become much more equitable since the civil rights movements of the 60s, and the true battleground now is in the areas of public perception and social acceptance. As more people have the courage to be out, hopefully that'll help "Grampaw" realize that gays aren't the devil, they're just people who are born differently, want to have the same rights as their straight brethren, have an opportunity to experience the happiness found through love, and live their lives in peace.
Finally, as a side note, here is another interesting point from the Pentagon report on the "bathroom" issue (emphasis mine):
Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype—
that gay men and lesbians will behave as predators in these situations, or that permitting
homosexual and heterosexual people of the same sex to shower together is tantamount
to allowing men and women to shower together. However, common sense tells us that a
situation in which people of different anatomy shower together is different from a situation
in which people of the same anatomy but different sexual orientations shower together.
The former is uncommon and unacceptable to almost everyone in this country; the latter
is a situation most in the military have already experienced. Indeed, the survey results
indicate 50% of Service members recognize they have already had the experience of sharing
bathroom facilities with someone they believed to be gay.31 This is also a situation resembling
what now exists in hundreds of thousands of college dorms, college and high school gyms,
professional sports locker rooms, police and fire stations, and athletic clubs around the
nation. And, as one gay former Service member told us, to fit in, co-exist, and conform to
social norms, gay men have learned to avoid making heterosexuals feel uncomfortable or
threatened in these situations.32