The Broken Rifle No 93, August 2012: Queer and antimilitarism

International CO Day: May 15th

No 93, August 2012


Queer and antimilitarism is the theme of this Broken Rifle, and
we hope this will create some debate within WRI and beyond. Most
articles have been written especially for this issue, with the
exception of Tamara K Nopper's article on Don't Ask Don't Tell,
which we republish from Against Equality. Don't Ask Don't Tell
was finally repealed in December 2010, but this does not make
her arguments less important.

Alvine Anderson presents eight arguments why antimilitarism
needs queer - queer people and a queer analysis. Miles Tanhira
follows from this arguing that war resistance needs to be an
integral part of a queer struggle, and the recent events in
Zimbabwe show how threatened queer people and organisations
are in an escalated conflict.
Pelao Carvallo uses the language and analysis of queer to look
at the situation in Paraguay after the ousting of President
Fernando Lugo during a parliamentary coup in June.
Yu Min-Seok describes the problems queers and conscientious
objector face in South Korea, and links both to masculinity.
And Tomato explores the discrimination she as a lesbian faced
in the struggle against a new naval base on Jeju island.
Finally, Ali Erol describes the difficult choices gays face in
Turkey when they are confronted with compulsory military

These articles show that there is a range of queer
perspectives when it comes to militarism or military service,
and there is not always an easy answer. But they also show how
important and beneficial it might be for antimilitarists to
take on a queer perspective when analysing militarism. As
Alvine Anderson writes: "Actively working to make our
movements inclusive does not just make us a larger movement,
it makes room for more perspectives and experiences and makes
us more creative and effective in our work against

Andreas Speck

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The Broken Rifle

The Broken Rifle is the news­letter of WRI, and is pub­lished
in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 93,
August 2012.

This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Cattis Laska
and Andreas Speck. Special thanks go to Alvine Anderson,
Jungmin Choi, Miles Tanhira, Tamara K Nopper, Pelao Carvallo,
Yu Min-Seok, Tomato, Ali Erol, Hilal Demir, Mr. Fish, Albert
Beale and many others – especially to our team of voluntary

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Queer and antimilitarism

Eight reasons why antimilitarism needs

1. Militarism is not just a war, an army or a fighter jet.
Militarism is a system, a logic and a set of norms that
perpetuates and recreates our societies and our daily lives.
Queer analysis of power is a political tool that can help us
to challenge these norms. Queer liberation isn't about
equality within a patriarchal and militarist system, it is
about going beyond the politics of inclusion and creating
future just societies that do not merely recreate systems of
power under different names.

more ...

Why resistance to war is a central and important part of a

queer struggle

Steve Biko, an anti-apartheid activist, once said the
oppressed aspire to be the oppressor. This is true when it
comes to the effects of war on minorities such as LGBTI
people. In most African countries for instance, the issue of
homosexuality has been used by power hungry politicians to
hoodwink people into believing that homosexuality is the cause
of their misery.

For example in Zimbabwe, whenever the chips are down for
politicians they find a social issue that is highly emotive
and try to use it to prosecute their private wars, that’s why
people are not interested in understanding LGBT people, they
are interested in the existence of the issue and meting out
instant justice. Politicians feel the urge to keep society at
an emotional level so that whenever things are not going right
for them or their political parties they invoke the issue of
homosexuality, because people share the same hatred and fears
as them.

more ...

War Resisters' International Executive statement on the
harassment of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)

War Resisters' International (WRI), the international network
of pacifist organisations with more than 80 affiliates in more
than 40 countries, calls for an end to the harassment of our
affiliate Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) and to the
physical attacks on members of GALZ. Furthermore, WRI strongly
condemns the violation of basic human rights of the members of
GALZ, such as freedom of association, freedom from arbitrary
arrest, and freedom from torture and degrading treatment.

On 11 August 2012, GALZ launched its report on violations of
LGBTI rights in Zimbabwe with a press conference at the GALZ
office in Harare. Following the press conference, GALZ members
celebrated the successful launch with a party, which was then
raided by police, who detained the 44 members of GALZ present
- 31 men and 13 women. All were subjected to beatings and
abuse while in detention, but released the following morning
without charge.

more ...

Why I oppose repealing DADT & passage of the Dream Act

One of the first books I read about Asian American feminism
was the anthology Dragon ladies: Asian American feminists
breathe fire.  In one of the essays, author Juliana Pegues
describes scenes from a “radical Asian women’s movement.”  One
such scene involves lesbian and bisexual Asian and Pacific
Islanders marching at Gay Pride with signs reading “Gay white
soldiers in Asia?  Not my liberation!” and “ends with the
absence of all soldiers, gay and straight, from any
imperialist army.”

Although it has been over a decade since I read this passage,
I return to this “scene” as I watch far too many liberals and
progressives praise the possible repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell (DADT) as well as the possible passage of the DREAM Act
(Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act).

more ...

Out of the Closet

“In the time of a parliamentary coup d'etat, the machos
bloom, everything becomes heroic and manly. Among the abusers
and the abused, nobody wants to be history's pansy. We are all
men according to that which is imposed as the official
dispute. Many flags, many anthems, much shouting, many orders,
everything very militant. Luckily the resistance is odd and so
there is resistance to such orthodox masculinity and
militarism, from the right to the left. There is a preference
for abandon, laughter, rashness and non-cooperation, for
busting our asses before screwing, tickling and disarming. We
resist and refuse to be hero or heroine, unless it comes in a

In the middle of the cold season in our post-coup Paraguay,
the hot political climate has created blasts of heat that have
pushed many people out of the closet. If the concept of
'coming out of the closet' speaks of truths, power and
relationships, and at the same time speaks of impostures,
cover-ups, and disguises – how one presents oneself within the
dynamics of social networks and constructs – then the term 'to
come out of the closet' should be applicable to non-queer
contexts, thus queering them.

more ...

South Korea, a Difficult Place for Queers and Conscientious

South Korea is a conservative country with strong patriarchal
and heteronormative traditions, where queers and conscientious
objectors have difficulty fitting in. Especially because the
South Korea military maintains a conscription system, the
military strongly influences the way in which Korean men's
gender identity is shaped. “Masculinity” is something that I
don't have, but in the conservative South Korean society
people find it odd and make queers like me feel ashamed and
embarrassed - which often leads us to blame ourselves for not
being able to satisfy society's criteria of normality. It's a
kind of “false consciousnes”. Besides the harsh treatment of
sexual minorities in the Korean military, the attacks on and
social stigma attached to conscientious objectors who refuse
to go into the army are quite serious. Queers remain
conflicted with the military whether they accept it or not.

more ...

Facing discrimination within our struggle

This morning I read an article entitled "Queer young South
Koreans getting on the march" published in the Hankyoreh, a
daily newspaper in South Korea. The article was about a Korean
high school lesbian couple who has been together for almost
100 days (an important milestone in a South Korean
relationship). The reporter wrote about how they loved each
other but faced difficulties and discrimination as a sexual
minority. As usual, some people on the internet responded to
the article with hateful and unreasonable comments. I am very
much used to such hatred but I was still hurt. This was
especially so because of what I have been through in Gangjeong
village on Jeju island, where the villagers supported by
activists from all over South Korea resist the construction of
a new naval base in their village (see The Broken Rifle
No 91, April 2012).

more ...

Unnatural Sexual Relation or Psycho-Sexual Deficiency: Is A
Third Way Impossible?

Within Turkish society, which is dominated by a spiral of
'masculinity' and 'military service', sexism and homophobia
are ever present. Militarist institutions humiliate and label
homosexuals, they treat them carelessly and make their life
miserable, especially when it comes to the 'military service'.
Firstly, the army as an institution has been presented as a
gift that remains out of reach if one is gay. The fact that
the institution called 'the army', known as the fortress of
'masculinity' and of institutional militarism, excludes women
and homosexuals does not mean of course that they are unable
to serve in the army or to fight. The fact that women and gays
are being excluded is a result of the ideology of masculinity.
This ideology, and its spearheading institution, the army,
where this ideology is engendered, perceives homosexuality
solely as 'faggotry', humiliating the gay individual by
treating him not as a human being and assaulting his soul and
character. It insults him, it makes him worthless.

more ...