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Statement on DADT repeal

GLN permalink 12-19-2010

DADT repeal is a victory for equal employment rights, but if that's the only thing we take away from this event, we miss the boat. The Democrats will try to take credit for DADT repeal, but they were the ones who gave us the crappy policy in the first place. Moreover, by playing party politics and thumbing their noses at the rapidly advancing Log Cabin Republicans' anti-DADT lawsuit, they nearly stole defeat from the jaws of victory. Obama's claim that he opposed the suit in court because he wanted an "orderly" repeal of DADT is a load of crap - he just didn't want a wing of the Republican party taking credit for something he had long promised to do. He was cynically using our rights as a political football and nearly lost the repeal as a result. He and the Democratic Party should be called out on that.

Finally, to talk only about DADT repeal in the narrow context of LGBT rights and ignore the devastating impact of the U.S. military on the peoples of the world would be arrogance in the extreme. There are over 1000 American military bases outside of the U.S., mostly in countries whose peoples don't want them there, helping prop up scores of U.S.-allied thugs who are widely hated by those they rule over.

For those naive enough to persist in thinking that American troops are abroad to "serve" -- there to help other peoples or to "defend our freedom," I need only point to the Wikileaks revelations. The U.S. is responsible for half the world's military spending - that's not defense, that's empire.

Stacked up against the continuing enormous waste of lives and resources caused by the American military, the injustice of DADT paled by comparison. I don't expect HRC or the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to ever depart from their myopic "rights-for-gays-only" approach. But to the vast majority of LGBT people who identify with neither of those groups, I would say this: If you want solidarity from non-LGBT people for our struggles, such as in referenda campaigns (which we've uniformly lost over the past few decades), then we cannot fail to give solidarity to the justice struggles of "others," many of whom are themselves LGBT.

Andy Thayer
Co-founder, Gay Liberation Network


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