(written Tues. 5/27)
I’m on the second (or technically third if you include our stint in Boston) day of the Right to Serve Tour. In order to protest the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy of the U.S. Military, about 20 Harvard students and I are busing around the East Coast doing sit-ins at military recruitment centers and trying to talk with Senators to encourage them to introduce a bill in order to repeal DADT.
I had some discomfort signing up for the trip only because everything military makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I felt that somehow supporting LGBT people’s right to serve openly means that I am pro-military. I assumed however, that for most people on the trip it would be much more about the bigger picture of LGBT rights and our treatment as second class citizens not deserving of equal treatment, and less about the military specifically. I have felt however, that there is pressure to respond to the press as if we are all here because we want to serve or might be interested if we knew it was an option for us or else we will not be taken seriously. I figure that because of my immediate rejection of all topics military, I’m very uneducated about this topic, and this week will be a good educational experience. I have learned a lot about the military so that I can speak about it more knowledgeably, but I will never claim that I am here because I have any interest in signing up or seeing any of my LGBT friends do so.
I have also found myself uncomfortable with how easily as a group we have fallen into using pro-military rhetoric without really thinking it through. One sign that we held yesterday at the memorial day parade in Old Orchard Beach, Maine as we tried to intercept Senator Susan Collins read “Gay troops support America. Do we support them?” I realize that the military itself has the potential for good such as in disaster relief and the ending of WWII. I also realize that until there are no countries with militaries, the United States is going to have one so it does no good to pretend it doesn’t exist, and instead should be engaged with and reformed. There are so many things wrong with our current military (such as the military’s current involvement in world affairs, the way soldiers are recruited, the misogynistic and homophobic culture fostered within the military, to name a few) and DADT is just one of those things. The military might support an America (or a corner of it), but it is not the one that I subscribe to, belong to, or want to see supported.
Although I see people’s service in the military as much more a detriment than benefit to the world I live in (and the world I want to see/take part in creating), I still believe that forcing a person to live closeted is a huge disservice to that person as a human being, as well as a hugely symbolic disservice to the LGBT community. The main reason for DADT is that it is predicted that the existence of openly gay troops in the military will lower “team morale.” This is where my unequivocal, forceful support of our trip comes in. The government’s official and legal stance on LGBT people is that when allowed to talk openly about our loved ones, we only cause discomfort and are therefore a hindrance to team building. There is something very very wrong there.
Anarchists Against the Wall Protest 40 Years of Occupation with Giant, Pink, Penis- Shaped Tank in Downtown Tel-Aviv last summer.
(That’s my cousin yelling about 60 years of militarism, chauvinism and sexism!)
A list, even though I really don’t love lists. Linear lists, at least. Alliteration at it’s finest.
1. I played the L word board game today for the first (and probably last) time. In the game, the photos of the characters are so strange. The trans guy (Max) is femmed up. The (monopoly style) point of the game is to compete with the other characters to spend your money to buy “The Planet,” a cafe that features in the show. Capitalism, femmed up male identified queers… and me and my teammate had to sit out a turn because we were “leaping lesbians” and “lost our handbag on the cruise.” I get it: all rich and overly sexed femme queers carry hangbags, go on cruises, and have instant money they use while spending all of their time competing with each other and getting laid. That’s what I call a cooperative vision for a better world. Don’t you just love what capitalism does to queerness? I sure do.
2. I am newly obsessed with this video by awesome Athens Boys Choir. Check it out:
(Except for no POCs. Thoughts?)
Cause I got a V- to the – A- G-I-N-A but no P-E-N-I-S- ENVY, cause for real tho- i got a dildo, i got two dildos, i got three dildos.
Tomorrow I head to New Jersey for a camping trip with my student co-op. (I know what you’re thinking. Camping in Jersey? What, you’re gonna roast marshmallows over a roaring smokestack? But don’t cry for me, friends: we’re going to the pine barrens, where I’m told there is a creek and a historic bluegrass music hall.)
Before peacing out, I wanted to leave you with this delightful video.
Hat tip to my fellow co-opper, AMZB.
Have a great weekend, y’all, and be safe!
behold the pure awesomeness, posted here with “dr.” mellor’s permission.
Ever wondered what a queer punk anti-racist fundraiser might look like?
Below the fold, an email from folks in Chicago who put their heads together, so to speak, to support the Day of Expungement in New Orleans. Co-sponsored by Safe Streets/Strong Communities, Critical Resistance, and the Orleans Public Defenders, Expungement Day was part of an ongoing movement to counter the racist criminal justice system and help communities flourish.
Recently I’ve been re-reading Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals (using it to analyze Bram Stoker’s Dracula for my English class — good times), and I’ve gotta say, despite the flaws in his philosophy, the book is beautifully written, and there are some real gems in there. The creativity and good humor of this Chicago fundraiser exemplify the spirit of his sixth rule of power tactics: “A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic” (128). An important sentiment to keep in mind, I think, especially when student organizing so often reverts to the same old speak-outs and die-ins, marches and petitions. I mean, Alinsky and his crew once bought up all the tickets to an enemy-owned symphony, hosted a potluck feast of baked beans beforehand, and then farted their way through the whole concert. Now that’s a tactic.
Anyhow, read, enjoy, and see y’all next week!
entire conversations take place between/amongst persons in which a “common language” is used, but each party reads the meaning of the words exchanged in differing, often mutually incompatible ways. and quite frequently, all parties walk away from that conversation understanding not what has been issued (as it was conceived of by the issuer(s)) but what they choose to believe has been issued.
and that is why words have far more meanings than their dictionary definitions would suggest. the word “man” means one thing when it is used by a white, racist woman (who need not know herself as racist, and probably would vehemently deny her racism anyway) to refer to her white husband, and another thing when it is used by the same woman to refer to a black man. in fact, she could not comfortably exist unless she allowed “man” to mean something different in these two contexts. to her, “black man” stands in for “boy.”
that is why the slogan “i AM a man.” makes sense.
were the anonymous internet poster who issued the following words to refer to a group of white people using the word “folks”…that word would point to a very different meaning than the one it points to here (i’ve used this quote before but it is so exceptionally racist i can’t help myself):
Black representation at the low-scoring end of the IQ scale has strong implications for society. At least 25 percent of Blacks are below 75 in IQ, and an IQ in the 70-75 range is classified as “borderline retarded” by most psychologists. Practically no one in that IQ range will graduate from high school or even learn much of elementary school basics; none will qualify for the armed forces, and few will be able to find good employment.
They therefore take to violence or mobs to feel accepted.
I am of the opinion that these folks can be helped.
amiri bakara’s/leroi jones’ dutchman is the quintessential example.
when lula calls clay a “man,” she means a black man, an uppity n*gg*r in a three piece suit. when lula calls clay a “man,” she uses the word ironically…though nothing in her manner would betray as much (until she begins to reveal herself as deeply racist).