President Obama has now signed off on the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and I, for one, am underwhelmed.
I know that some will accuse me of heterosexual privilege, and I may well be open to such criticism. I have, for example, always been somewhat equivocal on the gay marriage issue—of course SSM should be as legal as straight marriage, but why fight so hard for access to that oppressive social arrangement? Yet I’ve been married twice, so there you go.
I feel the same way about women in the priesthood, thereby increasing the recruitment pool for one of the most deeply reactionary institutions in human history. And now once again I find that I’m not a liberal in these matters, colour-blind, orientation-blind, gender-blind as they are, unwilling to recognize the realities of class, imperialism and oppression.
“Valor and sacrifice are no more limited by sexual orientation than they are by race, or by gender, or by religion or by creed,” Obama said in a speech to a capacity crowd gathered in a large auditorium at the Interior Department in Washington Wednesday.
“That’s why I believe it is the right thing to do for our military. That’s why I believe it is the right thing to do period,” he added.
Now openly gay and lesbian citizens will be able to rain death down upon whatever Third World nation has offended the US by refusing to supply Western-style governance, oil, gas, minerals and cheap labour on demand. They’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their straight comrades in doing so.
A victory for gay rights? Probably, at least in a purely American context. But for human rights grosso modo? I’m afraid that I must remain sceptical, and hold my applause.