Disastrous Inclusion: Critical Reflections on the Legacy of DADT

*We Who Feel Differently Journal*
Issue 2, spring 2012


*Disastrous Inclusion: Critical Reflections on the Legacy of DADT
*Introduction by Ryan Conrad

In the fall of 2011, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the United States military
policy of banning out gays and lesbians from serving in the armed
forces, was relegated to the dustbin of history. While many homos and
their hetero allies celebrated this policy change as significant
progress for gay and lesbian rights, queers from the anti-war movement
have been scratching our heads in wonder. How did extending the
opportunity for more people to join the US war machine become a
progressive goal?

/Disastrous Inclusion: Critical Reflections on the Legacy of DADT/, the
journal's second issue, features a combination of five new and archival
texts reflecting on gay and lesbian investments in militarism in the
United States from the early days of DADT to the present moment in the
Spring of 2012.

While compiling the pieces for this journal I wanted to be thoughtful
about moving beyond reductive LGBT and anti-war frameworks that simply
claim, "discrimination is wrong" or "war is bad" in order to address the
intricacies of how heterosupremacy and militarization impacts our
everyday queer lives. Whether that be through the normalization of
militarized public schools, police departments, and border guards or the
economics of war that perpetuate the poverty draft, the underfunding of
social safety nets, and the neocolonial project of U.S. corporations
exploiting nations that are occupied by the U.S. military in the name of
democracy and human rights.

In Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's piece, *"Community Spirit": The New Gay
Patriot and the Right to Fight in Unjust Wars
she shares her personal experiences and reflections about growing up
queer at a time when AIDS and anti-war activism coincided. She then
contrasts this earlier time with the emerging militarized gay and
lesbian identities that exist today and the complicity of the broader
Left in allowing these fervently pro-war gay voices to go unchallenged.

*I Was Wrong About Don't Ask, Don't Tell
by Ian Finkenbinder is a recent U.S. war veteran's musings about his
previous involvement to help overturn DADT and his current activist work
with the broader Occupy movement. After humbly admitting he was wrong
to fight for the expansion of the U.S. military he thoughtfully asks
what his actions did and who benefited.

Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention (LAGAI) produced a
counter-recruitment packet in 1992 during the first Gulf War titled
/Queers Out of Uniform./ The introductory essay, *Who, What, Why, When,
Where, How *,
describes the links between the imperialist wars abroad and the racist,
anti-poor war at home. In addition to this essay, a digitized version
of the entire counter-recruitment packet is available for downloading

as well.

In *Why I Oppose Repealing DADT & Passage of the DREAM Act*
K. Nopper examines how both the repeal of DADT and passing the DREAM Act
will increase the size and power of the U.S. Department of Defense. She
challenges the ethics of military inclusion for gays and lesbians and/or
undocumented young people in exchange for certain rights that are
tenuous at best in a homophobic, white supremacist society.

Karma Chávez's *The end of DADT, State Violence and National Belonging
questions how the emerging "gay rights as human rights" discourse is
being deployed in the service of U.S. militarism. She also details the
human rights abuses and unfettered violence against women, queers, and
people of color that permeates all aspects of the military apparatus,
suggesting that LGBT people, of all people, should be at the forefront
of opposing military expansion.

These five essays complicate the simple logic of equality
and challenge the narrow vision of what counts as LGBT issues as
championed by mainstream gay and lesbian rights organizations. These
writers demand we understand poverty, citizenship, immigration,
incarceration, education, ability, racism, sexism, colonialism,
neoliberalism, the so called war on terror, amongst others things, as
explicitly queer issues. While the urgency of talking about and
challenging the drive to overturn DADT has passed, it is critical to
continue reflecting on its legacy and the continued normalizing of the
militarization of our everyday lives that DADT's passing has further