If I may borrow a phrase from a long dead psychotherapist, John McCain’s character armor really showed, like a woman’s slip, when he voted no to repeal of the military’s Clinton era policy of DADT (don’t ask, don’t tell) then refused to concede defeat, even in the face of almost a dozen Repubs who broke ranks and voted yay.  Of all the advancements of queer people (my word, easier for me to remember and type than
LGBT, and, like Count Korzybski and most Buddhist commentators,I do not like
categories in any case), repeal of DADT is the most momentus, and I’d like to explain why I believe this wholeheartedly. 

 

First, the African-American community finally has “seen the light” and acknowledged that sexual orientation is as much a civil rights issue today as being black was in the 50s and 60s. In times past, when some queer folk made allusions to the commonality of
both the black man’s struggle and that of queers, such claims have met opposition to say the least.  At least one irate African-American got in my face, saying, “You don’t have black skin.  You can hide what you are!”   I assumed, had he been completely honest he also would have said, “We aren’t fags [homos, poofs, whatever].”  There must be some reason why African-Americans suffer a disproportionate HIV infection rate to their numbers in the general population.  (And before can bring up IV drug use and other explanations, I am not unaware of the effect
they’ve had on the AIDS rates.)

 

Black men particularly take pride in being heterosexual; perhaps inordinate pride.  One might draw parallels to Latin America, where the “macho” complex has many bisexuals marrying, having children, &c (as Zorba put it, “the full catastrophe”) while they sneak off whenever they can to their (often submissive) males on the side.  I think if anything African-Americans are more macho than their Hispanic American brothers.  So, when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D.-TX.) went on a pundit program the afternoon DADT was repealed, her embrace of queer rights as a “civil rights issue” had me bolting forward in my recliner.  When more conservative African-Americans were interviewed later (I am glued to MSNBC a couple of hours a day, at least) and expressed the same opinions about civil rights, I knew the lawmakers had done something quite extraordinary indeed.

 

Next, conspicuous in their absence, except, possibly, on Faux Noise, which I do NOT watch when I can avoid it, were the evangelical types.  One did not for example hear from Rev. John Hagee, who called Katrina God’s punishment on New Orleans for hosting a gay pride event.  Nor did one hear from the right wing religious nuts who actually believe that homosexuality is such a Biblical sin that its practitioners should be subject to capital punishment.  And where was that Bigot Number One, Tony (the PAC man, not the actor) Perkins, who wants all queers to undergo “Exodus”-type behavior modification, because as we all know, being queer is something acquired, not a part of one’s essence.  To all of these slaves to 6,000 year old scripture, repeal of DADT is like saying: These folks were born the way they are and they are no less entitled to carry a rifle for their country’s armed forcers than the African-American was prior to Pres. Harry Truman’s abolition of the color barrier in the military.

 

A best case scenario would be the shouting down in the marketplace of ideas the contradictory and self-serving claims of televangelists and people like Perkins (a religious nut himself) that they "hate the sin, love the sinner."  Since they believe that being queer is acquired, no genetics involved, these halfwits can say such things with seeming impunity.  When one learns of the role of science in the genetic predisposition of some to queerness, one realizes that it is completely impossible to love the sinner and hate the sin.  Nor does it even comport with Judeo-Christian theology: why are there so many queers if God did not want us here?  Repeal of DADT is a total rejection of the nurture argument in favor of nature.

 

The repeal also says, “Since they are entitled to die for their country without their fellow soldiers thinking they are straight and only later learning their foxhole friends were actually phony and hypocritical, they should also be entitled to every other right and protection afforded by the Constitution.”  The repeal has set back social conservativism to the Dark Ages, or at least circa 1,300 common era.  Perkins type bigots can no longer have a basis for their stereotypical claims that queers are pedophiles, cross-dressers, "recruiters," chosen-lifestylers, and so forth.  When Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank was accosted by the conservative TV newsman and asked if the repeal meant straight men were going to shower along with gays, Frank replied, without missing a beat,that gays and straights already shower together -- at their neighborhood gym.  (Recall, Dick Armey, co-founder of the Teabagger movement, once referred to Frank as "Barney Fag."  Come to think of it, repeal was a slap in the face to those bozos, too.)

 

Perkins and his Family Research Council (what a misnomer, that!) allied with the Mormon Church (strange bedfellows, those!) to put through the dreaded Proposition 9 in California.  Today’s DADT repeal makes all of their campaign expenditures for naught.  Some pundits already claim that queer marriage will be a fait accompli within a
decade.  When you have that tired old bigot McCain railing against you and nice people like Rep. Sheila Lee supporting your civil rights struggle, time is on our side.

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This to me was more important than gay marriage, because it is about the right to not have to hide in the closet.

 

I loved the Barney Frank interview! Opposers don't have much to stand on anymore. The shower thing is just infantile. There is no increase in gays in the military; it's just that now they don't have to be undercover, which if homophobes had any common sense, would make them less paranoid.

 

I'm convinced Mccain voted against it b/c he didn't want to look like the guy who changed his mind, and wanted to kiss up to conservatives, but he made himself look stupid.

With, what, a six-year election cycle, he actually worries he might not be rightwing enough for the Teabagger types?  Poor John, poor, poor John.  Nobody bothered to tell him that times change.  Given his many skin cancer operations, he may get melamoma any day now, but he's already dead.  He might even have penile dementia and perhaps paranoia about his seeming closeness to that big blinky-eyed Southern belle, Linsie Glam.
He tried to change his image so many times. I think he tried to market himself as moderate when running against Bush, and against Obama he tried to look conservative, while at the same time "not like Bush at all". Psh!
Your Onion link has a hilarious quote attributed to McCain ""Imagine you've got a boat full of sailors out cruising the Gulf of Aden when
all of a sudden they're attacked. Some of the homosexuals lock themselves below
deck and begin touching themselves," said the 73-year-old senator and Vietnam
War veteran, his breath quickening. "One of their names is Ricardo....."  
Maybe he's reminiscing?
Outside AN, there are not other places / people who I can talk with, about how much this means. I've spent a lifetime, often feeling less than fully equal, even to criminals. Working harder than people around me, studying more, taking my losses, including the miserable death of a partner, silently and without support of loved ones and colleagues. Equality of marriage is still as important to me, but at this moment, the sense of validation is very, very (bitter)sweet.

I am a veteran too, and was equally at risk as the guys who I showered with (what a laughable concept) for loss of life, indignity, loss of freedom and family during those years. And my fellow soldiers were also my friends and support It was also veteran's benefits that got me started on higher education and helped me buy my first house. I was actually fairly 'out' in the military - that was before the puritanical influence of the Reaganites. It wasn't that big of a deal - a source of jokes, sometimes, but not hateful, and my first sexual contact and lover were soldiers. I do find it funny, how delicate many people think marines are, that they will blush and melt if a gay person sees them naked in the shower. I hope the enemy doesn't find out - they'll dress as the village people, and play "YMCA", causing our forces to retreat and run in fear.

The death of DADT is very hard won, long awaited, and still hard to beleive.
Nice, Sentient.  I keep wondering what might have happened to me had I gone into the Navy during Viet Nam.  The problem was, it was a bullshit war with no possible "victory."  That allowed me to do what had to be done to avoid the draft.  I know I made the right decision by "dodging."  The pre-draft physical was a joke.  I checked off the "homo" blank or box and got sent down the hall to a dreaded shrink exam.  He was an old guy like Will Geer, the grandpa psychiatrist in the movie "Seconds": avuncular and silver tongued.  He looked at the form I had signed and asked, "You're not one of those, are you?"  I had to say no, I wasn't, and that was that.  I only escaped by having braces put on my teeth, which placed me in a less than desireable level of eligibility.  My country right or wrong my ass.
The military is many things.  For me it opened my eyes and opened doors. and let me become myself.  As a bookish, nerdy, mid-west farm town white boy, raised baptist, segregated and homophobic, I wound up in majority-minority platoons, with most of my friends being latin, and my lover, a black man, and had no qualms about standing up to the chaplain about religious hypocrisy.  My fellow soldiers were like family, and there were few secrets. I did things that put me at risk, and knew it, and felt good about it.  I was a medic, and was a bit reassured morally that I wasn't there to kill anyone, but I knew that was a slippery slope ethical ground.   In retrospect, it was a great adventure, and changed me very much for the better.  I was (am) no saint, by far, to be sure, and there were bad times too, but I never regretted enlisting.

"Perkins type bigots can no longer have a basis for their stereotypical claims that queers are pedophiles, cross-dressers, "recruiters," chosen-lifestylers, and so forth."

 

Hmm while plenty of Queers are not crossdressers plenty are. And there's big problems in the military still for a large chnk of our community. How large a chunk? Well figures are rough but in Australia 2.7% of people self identify as Gay or Lesbian. Lynn Conways figures have 1 in every 500 people Transsexual who can't serve in the USA but Australia is facing that issue right now. Intersex people according to Peter Koopman of the University of Queensland efects 4% of live births so that alone is a larger chunk of the community than Gay or Lesbian is, yet is the least included in all aspects of our community and efforts and victories. Same-Sex Atrracted people in Australia are 6% in primary school, 10% in High School, 20% in adult The first two figures from the LaTrobe University Writing Themselves In 3 study. That same study found 3% of people didn't tick Male or Female and so classed them as Gender Questioning. The APA has Transvestism at 2%-3% of the male population. I have heard of a magazine survey in the UK years ago reaching a figure of 6%. One school in Thailand installed a Transgender specific toilet because 10%-20% of male students each year identified as Transgender.

 

While the figures are rough it seems that following Bi Transgender is likely the second largest part of the communtiy with Intersex the third and Gay and Lesbian following that. And the Gender diverse part of the queer community face the most violence and discrimination.

OPINION at the progressive / liberal Truthdig.org

‘Don’t Ask’: Not Quite Fa La La Just Yet
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dont_ask_not_quite_fa_la_la_jus...
Posted on Dec 22, 2010

By Larry Gross

According to the mainstream media and the Obama administration, it would appear that all us gay folks should don our gay apparel and go caroling from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capitol, thanking our elected representatives for finally giving us the right to kill and be killed without simultaneously hiding in the closet. Progress, no doubt, in the sense that any denial of our civil rights is a denial of our basic right to full citizenship—but not a cause for unalloyed celebration.

...

In the end, the solution is simple, if not immediately strategic: Sexual orientation should be added to the basic federal civil rights legislation. Pure and simple. This would obviate the need for ENDA, kill DOMA, and make DADT-type discrimination impossible. ...

MORE on line:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dont_ask_not_quite_fa_la_la_jus...

War Resisters League statement on DADT

 

DADT and the Liberal support for militarism.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Liberal Militarist Diversion

"What remains unaddressed by critics... is the direct link between the rhetoric of the movement in favor of the repeal of DADT and the
intensification of U.S. military involvement in places like Iraq and
Afghanistan. Even a brief consideration of the claims made by Choi and
his fellow activists makes it clear that the campaign in favor of the
repeal depends on an uncritical acceptance of U.S. militarism and
military culture. ... what you will not hear in the statements by Choi
is any reference to the oppression of foreign civilian populations at
the hands of U.S. soldiers like himself. In fact, Choi has openly
expressed his desire to redeploy to Iraq if reinstated in the Army. "

http://www.warresisters.org/node/1055  -

quote from the 60's anti war movement:
"What if they gave a war and nobody came?"
(source unknown)

posted by Gary

 

I thought the same thing when I saw Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee speak on the repeal.  And when I see bigots spout all the lies about gays, I am dumbfounded.  Being gay is so second nature to me that I am surprised every time. 

I went to prom with Dick Armey's step-son in 1987.  I still have the dress.  We took his Porsche.  Yes, that is what he drove.  Dick.

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