Several of my friends have posted an article on Facebook arguing that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the military’s policy that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, is not a victory for economic justice. I agree.
But. I think the article misses some important points. My take:
The authors are right to say that military service should not be the only jobs program available and that government funds could be better used, and the poor better served, by other types of economic development. The problem is this: whether or not the military SHOULD be the de facto jobs program, it HAS been the de facto jobs program. This means that gay men and lesbians (who, contrary to popular notions, are not always better off economically) have joined the military as a way to better their economic situation. The repeal of DADT is a victory for them.
The repeal of DADT is a victory for other reasons, too. It is a victory for gay and straight service members who have been targeted and forced out using the ban’s vague language and murky enforcement policies. While I am fairly certain that a good number of gay service people will remain in the closet, despite the repeal, at least it will not be a weapon in the arsenal of people who would go to any lengths to ruin the careers of others.
Regardless of what people think about the military, military funding, war, peace, justice, etc., the repeal of DADT is a victory for GLBT folks in general. I’m not saying “wooo whoo, now gay people are included in the military and that means they will be accepted into society” (as though societal acceptance or “normalcy” is even a good thing, necessarily), but it is one more nail in the coffin of the extreme right and those that would use religion, hate, fear and misinformation to steer the entire country away from policies that include GLBT folks. And that’s a good thing. [Read more...]