Sunday, November 14, 2010

DADT -- Should We Keep It?

Posted By on November 14, 2010, 4:17 AM

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If Don't Ask Don't Tell isn't repealed by the end of the year, it's unlikely it will be repealed at all by the upcoming 112th Congress (which is expected to focus mostly on making government illegal and investigating fictional impeachable offenses committed by President Barack Obama. Oh, what fun we'll all have!).---

QSaltLake columnist/blogger/Salt Lake's gay mayor/all-around Renaissance man Troy Williams has an unconventional take on the matter -- he says DADT shouldn't be repealed at all:

Repealing DADT will not be a progressive victory for human rights. It will not be a step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Rather, it will mean that we will perpetuate a system of violent oppression. Worse, we will be fodder for future wars. Queers will fill bloodied body bags and flag-draped coffins. For which war profiteer are you willing to die? Halliburton? Bechtel? The Republican Party? They are not worthy of our sacrifice.

Personally, I tell even if I'm not asked -- which is why I never felt much threatened by the prospect of being drafted into some corporate war.

[Note: The images above and below are evidently from an official 2001 U.S. Army publication titled Dignity & Respect: A Training Guide on Homosexual Conduct Policy. Apparently, Army training guides can be issued in comic-book form. This one's pretty good, actually! And more than a little disturbing ...]

I think to a lot of LGBT activists, ending DADT is more of a tactic than a goal. The idea is that heterosexual soldiers will learn to respect and trust their gay comrades-in-arms, and then carry their newfound enlightenment back home to the Heartland, bringing on a new era of tolerance and rainbows and free kittens and candy.

Not sure it would really work out that way -- whole branches of the military these days seem to be under the thrall of evangelical Christianity, a religion which is not known for promoting charity, tolerance or goodwill toward men.

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As Williams points out, even gays serving openly in the military would still be morally bankrupting themselves fighting corporate wars. Many would come back in body bags, and it's practically guaranteed that some of those casualties would result from a calculated sort of "friendly fire."

The lives of a generation of our gay brothers and sisters is too high a price to pay for a chance at some small measure of increased social tolerance. Sure, anybody who wishes to serve in good conscience should be allowed to do so -- but maybe it really is time for our LGBT leaders to reconsider their priorities.

If I look a little blue in the face, it's because I've been arguing since the 1990s that passage of the Employment Non-discrimination Act would do more to help LGBT folks here on the ground than marriage equality or a non-discriminatory military policy. Not all of us wish to enlist or marry, but we all have to earn a living.

For nearly 20 years, the national movement has been all about marriage this military that, with seldom a peep about employment. Maybe the mighty brains of the HRC are thinking that once ENDA passes, we won't be as "energized" or "engaged" -- so they keep dangling it as a faraway motivational carrot.

Maybe it's not such an effective strategy -- after all this time, we still have no ENDA and we're still stuck with DOMA and DADT. What the hell are we still sporting all these blue-and-yellow bumper stickers for?

Brandon's Big Gay Blog

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