Tuesday, December 21, 2010


As Susan Saxe brilliantly wrote: "I see no humor in uniform."

I ask my lesbian and gay folk to celebrate the ending of DADT by NOT enlisting, and NOT putting their bodies at the service of an imperial dominance machine. We have not had an honorable war in our lifetimes, and it is not likely one will ever emerge, the way lines of power are currently established.

I know that for many working class young people, the military is one of few economic survival strategies. This is no accident. I understand the pinch. I once myself seriously considered enlisting strictly to pay for education and an expensive version of security. If you can't find an alternative, I do not judge you.

But, I ask those who have led in the movement to repeal DADT to now switch their energies to finding alternatives to military service for our young adults. I want the predominant lesbian and gay issue of our leaders to be insuring job security, affordable education, health care and decent housing for all of us, because that in fact is what we need. What will give us dignity and community. What will win us allies and respectful equals.

But it will mean looking hard at race and class, not just a single issue. It will mean focusing on the freedom and safety of women and children, including (and especially) those living in countries our military currently occupies for reasons completely divorced from democracy. It will mean we stop fetishizing uniforms and any version of masculinity, and instead push our vast national power toward serving the needs of the world, not the interests of white boys who make sure their sons never get drafted.

Because we have insisted all along that "they" recognize our essential humanity, those who wished to create special second-rate categories for us. With the shift comes our responsibility to behave in ways which our having been excluded taught us to appreciate, to behave with enlightenment and compassion.

Don't enlist, don't kill. Dismantle the threat of force used to control the globe for corporations. Be authentically queer.


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