By: HH Brownsmith
According to the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration, defending one’s country is one of the responsibilities of citizenship. During the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War black men enlisted with hopes of returning from the battlefield to greater equality in the states. Japanese people joined up during WWII to avoid internment camps. Latino folks have been and are continuing to be recruited for the war in Afghanistan with the promise of an expedited path to citizenship. As disgusting as this bargaining is, the model is not hard to understand. You kill for us and we’ll call you an American (if the political and cultural climate allows for that and you don’t die).
But what if you aren’t given the initial “privilege” to enter into battle for the country? Some gay, lesbian, and bisexual people struggled with this conundrum from the creation of the armed services until September 2011. In the lead up to the repeal of Clinton’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Don’t Pursue policy, the debate became unsurprisingly dichotomous. Straight moral conservatives and a couple of churches (the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, namely) issued statements against the repeal. Liberals, including some affirming churches, and mainstream gay activists spent all their energy telling the world that members of the LGB community deserve the chance to fight and die for American interests. Meanwhile, other peace churches were holding their tongues on the sidelines and radical queer liberationists were being ignored, per usual.
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