Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



VIEWS: Queer eyes on what prize? Ending DADT
by Erica Meiners and Therese Quinn

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

So, we've heard that Barack Obama is going to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. As two queer teachers that have been working hard to arrest the militarism of education in Chicago—a public high school for every branch of the military, and two for the army ( and not one of these with a Gay Straight Alliance for students ) , and over 10,000 youth from 6th to 12th grade participating in some form of military program in their public schools—we are not leaping with joy at this rumor. Our reluctance has our allies scratching their heads:

"Isn't this what you want?"

"Equal right to fight!"

"What a success for the gay rights movement!"

"I guess this solves the discrimination problem in military public schools, then."

"Gay kids can join up!"

Sure, we think uniforms are hot, but this—permitting out lesbians and gay men to enlist—was never the purpose of gay liberation, a movement aiming as tenaciously at peace as equal rights.

And for us, it's clear that overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell ( DADT ) won't begin to address the public policy catastrophe of turning over our public schools, and some of our nation's poorest youth, to the military.

We argue that the system of public education should remain a civilian system. This statement rests on three proposals. First, adults may choose to enlist; youth cannot. Next, schools should educate students for the broadest possibilities and choices; the military narrowly aims to prepare recruits. And last, schools should protect young people and nurture peace; but the military is contagiously violent. From the ugly revelations of Abu Ghraib, and the rash of sexual assaults on military women by men in service, to many veterans' post-service violence turned both inward and outward—its legacy of brutality is so vast that the Department of Defense might more aptly be called the Department of Destruction.

This proposed repeal, far from any big win, offers queers an important opportunity to think about our strategies and goals. Let's not unfurl our victory banner too quickly; instead, we should keep our queer eyes, and organizing, focused on the real prize: social justice.

Yes, gays, lesbians and transgendered folks are discriminated against and excluded from full participation in our society and its institutions, including schools ( read any report about rates of violence against gay students or employment discrimination for out queer or non-gendering conforming school staff ) , military ( DADT—enough said? ) , families ( remember the 57% majority that passed the 2008 gay adoption ban in Arkansas ) and religion ( many religious colleges and universities ban homosexual students, staff, and faculty—legally! ) .

Add to this list the ease with which otherwise smart people, including President Obama, reserve marriage and all its attendant privileges for "one man and one woman" while also claiming they are "ferocious" defenders of gay rights—that's a fairly self-serving stance, isn't it? Yes, gays and lesbians still have a long way to go toward achieving...let's just call it "fully human status" in the United States.

The push to repeal DADT is, on the one hand, a no-brainer—all people should have all rights, right?

But this proposal can also be understood, and it is by us, as an attempt to remap what our social justice goals, as queers, should be—not the right to privacy and the right to public life, and certainly not the right to live lives free from our nation's ever-present militarism and never-ending war. Instead, lesbians, gays, transgendered and bisexuals are encouraged to forget our historical places at the helm of social justice thinking and labor ( to mention just a few, Jane Addams, Bayard Rustin, Barbara Jordan, and of course, Harvey Milk ) , constrict our vision and dreams, and just be happy for an opportunity to participate in a military that depends on poverty and permanent war to keep enlistment high.

Let's forget repealing DADT and cut right to the chase: Repeal the Department of Defense. What about establishing a Department of Peace, as Dennis Kucinich has already proposed? Let's pair that with bear brigades tossing pink batons ( and, of course, an annual teddy bear picnic ) . Or, we can take up the mermaid parade as an organizing celebration, with its dress-up and float creation. Either of these fanciful, and very queer, forms would allow us all to play and create together, and each seems a better activity for a school to take up that pretend soldiering.

Then let's organize for some real social justice goals.

For starters, let's demand universal healthcare, affordable housing, and meaningful living wage employment that supports flourishing, not merely subsisting, lives, for all.

We know we don't need 6th or 12th graders wearing military uniforms, marching with wooden guns on public school grounds. We don't need twelve year olds parsing military ranks or plotting battles. However, we could use more teens painting murals, stitching gowns, and writing code and lyrics. In short, we don't need child soldiers, but we could use more young artists.

A public school system that teaches peace and art, with fiercely equal opportunities for all students. We can see it now: painting classes, soccer clubs, computer gaming classes, drum-kits, comprehensive sexuality education, and musical theatre in every school. That's so excellently queer, and so very just.

Erica Meiners is an associate professor of education and women's studies at Northeastern Illinois University and a social-justice activist. Therese Quinn is an assistant professor of art education at the School the Art Institute of Chicago, and director of the Bachelor in Fine Arts with Emphasis in Art Education program.

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


MOMBIAN LGBTQ-inclusive books, and hope, in rural schools 2019-10-16
GUEST COLUMN Ignorance and shortsightedness lead us to the Supreme Court 2019-10-02
LETTER Attorneys needed 2019-10-02
Activists halt U.S. Conference on AIDS to protest CDC 2019-09-18
VIEWS Visibility isn't the goal 2019-09-18
REELING 2019 The reviews are in 2019-09-17
VIEWS A straight man's foray into an LGBTQ world 2019-09-04
Remembering Michael Bauer, a call to pick up the baton 2019-09-03
Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21
We need to talk about the 'Pose' hospital episode right now 2019-08-07
OP-ED How 'Queen Sugar' increases Black LGBTQ visibility 2019-08-06
Volumes of racism, xenophobia on blast 2019-07-24
LETTER Ruffled feathers 2019-07-23
Larry Kramer gives us one more chance to wake the f*ck up 2019-07-10
Moments in the Public Health Response to AIDS, CDPH LGBTQ Outreach Keynote June 28 2019-07-01
Looking back, looking forward 2019-06-26
We remember, we celebrate, we believe 2019-06-18
LETTER Respecting elders 2019-06-18
CONCERT REVIEWS X and The Damned, Gogol Bordello, Bettye Lavette and more 2019-06-17
New report reviews laws, policies affecting LGBTs in U.S. territories 2019-06-11
Vatican publishes anti-LGBT document 2019-06-10
Trans deaths are real deaths 2019-06-05
Five reasons the Gilead deal is a steaming pile of Truvada 2019-05-22
MOMBIAN Princess, maiden fall in love in new children's book 2019-05-22
Support for trans students starts with their names 2019-05-08
The religious (lack of) conscious rule 2019-05-08
LETTERS to Survivors 2019-04-24
MOMBIAN Passover Questions for LGBTQ Families 2019-04-13
Catholic bishops stopped my surgery because I'm transgender 2019-04-10
LETTER Remembering Roe 2019-04-10
ELECTIONS 2019, LGBT Chicagoans discuss mayoral candidates 2019-03-27
VIEWS May the best woman win 2019-03-27
LETTER Backing Toni 2019-03-25
VIEWS Uplifting Black LGBTQ workers all year round 2019-03-13
VIEWS Advocating for gender-neutral restrooms in schools 2019-03-03
LETTER The Rainbow Sash Movement and the trans community 2019-02-27
Windy City Times Election Guide, candidate interviews and printable chart 2019-02-26
THE AMAZON TRAIL How to celebrate Valentine's Day 2019-02-13
LETTER Miscarriages of justice 2019-02-13
LETTER Darkness 2019-01-30

Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.