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Posts Tagged ‘lesbians’

DADT’s Disproportionate Effect on Women

October 10th, 2009 1 comment

You can hardly watch a cable news show or read a blog without running into yet another story of the intensifying drumbeat for repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”  policy (among other signature issues for the LGBT community). Congress has finally woken up to the issue, with local war hero, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), and Clinton-replacement Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)  leading the charge. Now if Mr. Nobel Peace Prize will pledge some concrete steps to get rid of the policy when he speaks at tomorrow night’s (Saturday’s) Human Rights Campaign fund-raiser, maybe DADTwill be history within the next year or so.

I bring this up (again — see earlier posts on a particularly outrageous case and my interview with the delightful Alex Nicholson) to highlight a new — but hardly surprising — finding that women are being kicked out under this daft policy at much higher rates than men. In some cases, the raw numbers of women expelled are higher, which is eye-opening when one considers that women account for a small percentage of all military.

Part of it, Nathaniel Frank suggests, may simply be due to a higher percentage of lesbians than gay men in the military. But I’d guess that it also has a great deal to do with the male-drenched military culture, and its prerogatives. Women who resist the advances of male soldiers are in peril of being deemed lesbians. For too many male soldiers even today, the idea of a powerful, resistant woman may be more threatening than a sufficiently macho gay man (as long as no one talks about it).

Or maybe gay men are just better at inauthenticity than lesbians. In today’s military, that’s a job requirement for some soldiers. Now it’s  up to Obama to repeal the thing, or lose what credibility he still has with the LGBT community. Today’s NY Times analysis of the Peace Prize makes a point one hears more and more these days:

“[T]he award…was a reminder of the gap between the ambitious promise of his words and his accomplishments. It drew attention to the fact that while much of the world was celebrating him as the anti-Bush, he had not broken as fully as he had once implied he would from the previous administration…And it set off another round of mocking criticism from opponents….”

Perhaps the Prize will embolden Obama to take bolder steps, rather than to bask in the light that, so far, is generated at least partly by illusion.

Under Siege? Throw a Cocktail Party!

June 24th, 2009 No comments

This article in the NY Times caught my eye:

“As advocates for gays and lesbians intensify their criticism of the White House, President Obama has invited some of their leaders to an East Room reception next Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 Greenwich Village demonstrations that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement.

“The White House has not publicized the reception, and officials did not respond to e-mail requests for comment. But gay leaders from here and around the country said they had received either telephone calls from the White House or written invitations to the event, and were told Mr. Obama is expected to speak.”

Let’s commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with…a great big party (although not so very big that I was invited1)! Perhaps the entertainment can include a stagey reenactment, West Side Story style, of the clash between police and the fed-up drag queens (et al.) who opposed them on June 28, 1969, outside of the Stonewall Inn.

I think the Administration is really onto something here: appeasement, reconciliation, or forgiveness through partying. After a few drinks, most people will allow just about anything:

  • The New York State Senate might find that their seriocomic inability to actually meet can be solved by a Gov. David Paterson-hosted gala, at which the drunken revelers agree to accept the leadership of whichever party’s representative wins a game of musical chairs. The ensuing pratfalls and sprawls will be but little removed from reality.
  • Guantanamo detainees might be able to just quit griping if the Administration would just allow them to attend one l’il party, at which, after a few high-octane cocktails, luminary guests like Dick Cheney and John Yoo would return to lead a game of “pin the tail on the detainee.” Rich.
  • Jon and Kate Gosselin…oh, who cares?

Sorry for the high snark quotient. It would be hard to turn down a White House invitation, especially if there’s some potential to get “face time” with the Prez and ask him some hard questions. But will that be done? And what will Obama say? Probably not this, but let’s hope for something both inspiring and — more critically —  substantive.

  1. {sob}