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Our War Too - Gay Heroes, and Gay Necessities

A gay praise of the 'War on Terror'
Our War Too

Gay Heroes, and Gay Necessities


War changes everything. If there are lessons we can learn from history, this is one of them. And, above everything else, war changes the home front. It churns us all up, it scrambles social norms and makes what was once unthinkable possible. So the First World War was the critical moment for the breakthrough of the movement for women's equality, especially in Europe. The Second World War in America was perhaps the most racially integrating event in this county's history - it is no accident that only three years after it ended, racial segregation was abolished in the armed forces. And the Vietnam war also clearly turned this country's social order upside down, before it regained equilibrium.

And so this war could also do something similar. In fact, it already has. This is the first major war in which the open visible presence of gay and lesbian Americans cannot be denied. Already, the military has suspended its discharges of homosexual servicemembers, because in a war, we cannot afford the waste of resources such pointless persecution incurs. Openly gay soldiers will now fight for our freedom in a way never seen before. Now is not the time to argue for immediate changes in policy. We have a war to win. But it is a time to keep our eyes and ears open and see what these brave gay and lesbian warriors are all about. When and if this ends, we must remember them; and ensure that, when they return, they are not treated with contempt or ingratitude. The ban must not merely be suspended for the duration of this war. It must never be reinstated - and that must be a non-negotiable demand from all of us.

On the homefront, we already have heroes. These are not gay heroes. They are American heroes - who are also gay. That is the promise of this integrative moment. Let us remember Mark Bingham, a 6' 5" burly, ballsy rugby player, one of the men who, in all likelihood, wrestled a plane to the ground in Pennsylvania. He saved this country from what might have been a terrible assault on the capital. His power and courage and physical strength - his masculine virtue - did more than destroy the purpose of evil men. His valor also destroyed a stereotype in the process. Every jock in America needs to know that a brawny gay rugger player helped save this country from a calamity. No argument from anyone could be as eloquent.

Then there is Father Mychal Judge, an openly gay Catholic priest who served the men and women of New York's Fire Department. Revered by a macho subulture, fearless and strong, a man of faith and fervor, Father Mychal died in the flames of the World Trade Center doing what he has always done - tending to his flock in need. He is not a gay hero. He is an American hero who was also gay. And when this is over, let those in the Church who have done so much to create pain and hurt among good gay men and women who love their faith and serve their world, let them take stock and change their hearts. May they see that there is no contradiction between being gay and Catholic; in fact, may the Church hierarchy finally see that such people are now and always have been an integral pillar of faith and hope in the world. Father Mychal was a giant among them. We shall remember him as well.

For of all wars, this is surely one in which gay America can take a proud and central part. The men who have launched a war on this country see the freedom that gay people have here as one of the central reasons for their hatred. In their twisted perversion of Islam, these monsters believe that gay men and women deserve to be tortured and executed in hideous fashion. They murder and muzzle women; they despise and murder Jews; they demonize gays. We have rightly seen how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have destroyed themselves by their hatred in this moment - and we can take solace that America has repudiated their poison. But let us also remember that the men who committed this atrocity make Falwell and Robertson look mild in comparison. They are the Religious Ultra-Right, and they have already murdered us. Given the chance, they would wipe gay people from the face of the earth. To respond to that threat by cautioning peace or surrender or equivocation is to appease men who would destroy every last vestige of gay America if they could. Gay Americans should not merely support this war as a matter of patriotism and pride; they should support it because the enemy sees us as one of their first targets for destruction. These maniacs despise our freedom; they loathe our diversity; they have contempt for our culture. There is no gray here. There is simply a choice: to cower and run in fear of these monsters or to stand up with every other segment of this country - of every race and creed and gender and sexual orientation - and defeat these messengers of hate in the hope of a brighter, integrated day.


September 21, 2001, PlanetOut.

Andrew Sullivan

homepage: homepage: http://andrewsullivan.com/thewar.php?artnum=20010921

This Is Crap! 24.Feb.2004 11:30

Sea Men

Queers don't need military heros! Blah Puke Yuckkkkk. Amerikkka's hets can fight their own oil war. We have drag queens, leather bois and freaks for heros!!! Wouldn't want it any other way. My heros are the queers stuck in those fucked up small towns that don't pull the trigger. Fuck this oil war and the assimulation of the mighty queer freaks!!!!!

Whaaaaa!?! 24.Feb.2004 14:39

blarg

Jeez. Who would advocate the opressed to side with their opressors?

stupid homo 24.Feb.2004 15:14

anti-assimilation dyke

You're a fucking idiot. The only way america see's fit to end segregational practices (which by the way does not mean that they have stopped oppressing folks)is when they need them for cannon fodder. What did america ever do for you faggot? How many of us have they drug through the streets, tied to fences, denied housing and jobs, pushed into queer guetto's, let rot from AIDs, bear homophobic instigated sexual assualts. They have destroyed our queer communities by pumping racism, sexism and internalized homophobia down our throats and alcohol and other drugs down our faces. You think fighting in Iraq is going to liberate the queers of america? What about the queers of Iraq? The queers all around the world? If you find liberation through direct oppression of other people you need a boot to the face. When the time comes you capitalist asskissing homo's are the first I'm coming after. Fuck off.

Yeah, right 24.Feb.2004 17:13

xyzzy

"Already, the military has suspended its discharges of homosexual servicemembers, because in a war, we cannot afford the waste of resources such pointless persecution incurs."

Whoop-de-fucking-do. The military has issued so-called "stop-loss orders" against discharges of queers before. They did it in Vietnam, in fact. After we were no longer needed as cannon fodder, the homophobic discharges resumed.

Homefront heros: yes, what Bingham and Judge did was heroism. Both tried to limit harm to people. What Sullivan has done -- cheer on Monkey Boy's war crimes -- is anything but. Sullivan has been part of an American neo-fascist revival responsible for military adventures that have already butchered several times more people than the terrorists did on 9/11.

It's assimilationist gay politics of the variety Sullivan spews that turned me off of the gay scene (thus delaying my coming out) big time as a young adult -- I knew in my heart I wasn't straight, yet saw next to nothing in the glossy pages of _Out_ or the _Advocate_ that seemed like any sort of culture I wanted part of.

Thanks for nothing, Andy.

Portland

go, andy, go! 24.Feb.2004 20:27

what a laugh

you are rapidly rendering yourself irrelevant in every sphere!

A Clue 25.Feb.2004 20:36

Pipe Mouse

I really hope that this is some kinda joke.