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The Few, the Proud, the Gays: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Trap of Tolerance

January 13, 2012 Comments off

The Few, the Proud, the Gays: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Trap of Tolerance (PDF)

Source:  William & Mary Law School
The symbolic and iconic value of victories such as the two “m’s” of the military and marriage are heady indeed but, I would argue, not singularly or unambiguously “positive.” Surely removing structural barriers and challenging legalized discrimination are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for full civic inclusion. But, by framing these gains in a discourse of tolerance, we set the bar too low. By avoiding thornier and more contentious and more challenging questions (e.g., how might full inclusion undermine the heteromasculinity at the heart of military culture? What can queer kinship say to bourgeois familialism? How can we detach acts from identities and still embrace egalitarian struggles?) we allow animus new tributaries and byways through our cultural waterways. Repeal, enjoin, sign up, and pledge your troth to God and country and legally wedded spouse. But do not imagine that this is all that we can imagine. It just might be that an army of lovers can only make war, not the queer new world that our electric bodies demand.
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