Fucked-Update: Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Shit.

Written by  //  January 31, 2008  //  Fucked-Update, Politics  //  13 Comments

As some of you may know, last week, I had a birthday. What most of you probably don’t know is that I’m so obsessed with my own birthday that I tend to celebrate it for the entire month of January. This being January 31, the celebration will officially be over tomorrow. While I would prefer that nothing happen in January that might detract from the joyous observance of my birth, there are other important birthdays in the month as well. So that’s what we’re going to talk about…because birthdays make me happy and if I don’t think about happy things, I’ll remember how sad I am that the only presidential candidate I really believed in dropped out of the race yesterday. And then I would be crying on my keyboard. And then there would be no Fucked-Update.

An Opportunistic Politician’s Favorite January Birthday

What important figure do liberals and conservatives alike love to name-drop? You guessed it. Dr. King. Now, don’t get me wrong. He totally deserves a holiday. Actually, I think he deserves more than a holiday. He deserves to have his message taken seriously…still. He deserves to be honored for all the work he did, not just the advances he made in civil rights. Yet, when he’s remembered, it’s rare that people mention more than the fact that he had a dream and he wrote a letter from a jail in Birmingham. We talk about Dr. King as a great civil rights leader, not because that’s all he ever did, but because that’s the least controversial way to remember him. His name is often invoked to inspire people (as it should) and more often invoked as a way to make skeezy politicians seem more revolutionary than they actually are (see Mitt Romney crying and lying). What men like Mitt Romney seem to forget is that Dr. King wasn’t only a proponent of non-violence in civil rights demonstrations. He was against violence in general…even in war.

Let’s take his speech “Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” for example:

Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism.

He gave that speech in April of 1967, and yet we seem to be back in the same place again. His birthday shouldn’t be a day when we as a nation pat ourselves on the back for making strides toward racial equality. It should be a day when we listen to the entirety of his message and remember how far we have left to go.

The Annual March for Life Celebrates it’s 35th Anniversary

Wait, what? Oh, I’m sorry. What I meant to say was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade was on January 22. Easy mistake, I suppose. After all, the coverage I saw on the major news networks didn’t actually mention Roe v. Wade. Well, sometimes they said March for Life started as a reaction to the historic Supreme Court decision, but no one actually mentioned that January 22 marked 35 years of legal abortion in the US. That’s a cause for celebration.

Yet, I couldn’t find much talk about it outside of feminist and/or progressive publications, blogs, and websites. So here’s a little list of links for you folks to peruse lest you take your reproductive rights (or those of the women in your life) for granted.

-Sara Robinson of Group News Blog on the shift from surgical to medical abortions and the pro-life movement’s reactions.

-Sarah Blustain of the Nation on men’s post-abortion syndrome. No seriously. The “abortion hurts women” rhetoric wasn’t working, so now we’re supposed to feel sorry for the dudes.

-And of course, you can always find great articles on repro rights in AlterNet’s Reproductive Justice and Gender section

A Not So Happy Birthday: 15 Years of Soldiers in the Closet

On January 29, 1993, a piece of seemingly harmless (to straight people) legislation got the approval of President Clinton and forced gay and lesbian soldiers back into the closet. Stupid, stupid, Clinton. As is typical with discriminatory legislation, the Clinton administration attempted to convince the GLBT community that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would make it possible for gays to serve in the military…you know…just as long as no one actually knows they’re gay. Aside from the obvious reasons why it’s stupid and discriminatory, it apparently hasn’t occurred to people how natural it is for men in close quarters to get a little frisky. Seriously. I’ve seen more homo-erotic behavior in the freshman dorms at the Air Force Academy than at JRs on 50-cent beer night. It’s time people face reality and chill out about having gays in the military….because they already have them and they always will.

The good news is, with any luck (and a democratic win in November) this could be one of DADT’s last birthdays. Both Clinton and Obama have voiced opposition to DADT and there is currently a measure to repeal the law trapped somewhere in a House subcommittee. The bill has 141 co-sponsors. Excellent news.

For more on DAD, contact the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

About the Author

Cap'n Colleen

Cap'n Colleen is Donnybrook's political columnist and militant, dangerous, international activist.

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13 Comments on "Fucked-Update: Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Shit."

  1. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 10:14 am · Reply

    People always neglect the fact that it’s logistically impossible, during a time of war, to allow men or women to be openly gay in the military. We would have to provide equal but separate accommodations for homosexual soldiers, which often times is not logistically possible.

    In the same way we segregate men and women in terms of barracks/showers we would have to create a third category for homosexuals. Not to “segregate” them, but to respect people’s personal and sexual boundaries.

    Regardless of whether we are speaking of garrison or war-time, there is a reason why men and women don’t live in the same barracks. Sexual relationships within a rank structure can’t be permitted, and while this can’t always be enforced in the civilian world, it can most definitely be enforced in the military world, as it should.

    Until the Military is able to logistically support a third sexual orientation category, don’t ask don’t tell is the most respectful and humane solution.

    Just so you know I was in the army for six years and I love gay porn. Half of that is true; however, you get the point.

  2. Cap'n Colleen
    Capn Colleen January 31, 2008 at 11:01 am · Reply

    I get what you’re saying here, but I think the assumption that gays in the military would suddenly turn barracks into orgies or that men and women in the military don’t fuck just because they’re separate is a little disingenuous.

    I totally agree that sexual relationships should be off-limits for logistical reasons, but DADT doesn’t prevent that at all.

    First off, it doesn’t ban gays from the military, it just keeps them in the closet. Which, seriously, if you’ve ever been in the closet, it ain’t no fun.

    The idea that keeping gays out of the military will cut back on the off-limits sex is based on the rhetoric that gay people have no control of their sex drive. I know a couple people who got booted out of the military under DADT and neither of them had any sexual relationships with fellow soldiers.

    Furthermore, I think keeping women and men separate has more to do with safety than sex. Seriously. It’s like rapes’r'us during times of combat. Perhaps teaching some sexual ethics along with all the grunting and marching and pushups and guns wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    Oh, and everyone should get over their fucking homophobia. That might help too.

    Oh, and lest we start taking each other’s comments too personally again, just so you know, Bang Tango’ed, I wasn’t calling you homophobic. Or disingenuous. Or a rapist. Or anything else.

    I totally get what you’re saying. I just think that discrimination is lame no matter what logistical problems it may cause. And DADT is especially lame when enlistment numbers are way down and we’re fighting a war without enough soldiers and we’re excluding men and women who genuinely want to serve their country.

  3. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 12:00 pm · Reply

    I don’t think that having homosexuals in the same barracks as their same sex counterpart would cause “orgies”. That’s not what I meant to put across at all. The point is that the military would have to treat the homosexual relationship the exact same way you treat the heterosexual relationship, which, for the military, the status quo is to keep sexual counterparts in different barracks/showers.

    We can agree that the military would have to apply the same standards to homosexuals that they do to heterosexuals; the result being separate barracks/showers, which logistically, at this point, is not possible. I agree with you that the policy should change and that they should accommodate gay people, but right now, at a time of war, it’s just not possible.

    I honestly don’t think concern is that men will start sleeping with other men. The concern is that soldiers will be sleeping with other soldiers. Granted, this currently happens all of the time, but the military does what it can by making it punishable under UCMJ as well as providing separate barracks/showers.

    My prediction is that DADT will go away the next time we are not at war. Which is what, only 50 odd years away?

  4. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 12:13 pm · Reply

    One more thing. I served with people who I openly knew as gay. You don’t have to be in the closet about it. You just have to use the same reservations you would in a social situation. You don’t walk up to someone and say, “Hello, I’m Bang Tango’ed. I’m straight”.. Your sexual orientation is something personal and is something that you only share with people you would typically share personal information with. In my case I had a number of friends in the Army who after I got to know them told me they were gay, and it was not a big deal.

    I mean honestly, we’re not talking about Andy Dick wanting to join the Army. We’re talking about your run of the mill “I’m gay but you would never know it cause I don’t “act gay”" type of guy. Nobody is going to know you’re gay unless you tell them, so what’s the big deal. I don’t advertise that I’m straight. I understand the response, “but you could advertise if you wanted to.” Which brings me to my next point.

    It’s a gay rights issue for the homosexual community, I understand and agree with that; however, it’s not a gay rights issue for the military. It’s strictly the logistics of providing separate housing for gay people.

    Last.. In my military experience, the majority (literally the majority) of the women I was friends with were gay. The interesting part is other than not being able to bring their partners to military social events, they had no problem with DADT. The way they explained it to me is, if you worked at a company would you disclose your sexual preference?

  5. Cap'n Colleen
    Capn Colleen January 31, 2008 at 12:55 pm · Reply

    Well, it depends on the individual. I have the misfortune of spending the next 6 months in a state where it’s legal to fire me for disclosing my sexual orientation. I don’t know that I would actually be fired, but it’s allowed here. And that makes me nervous, so I’m put in a position where I have to keep people at a distance. Personally, I hate it…especially because when I was in Denver it didn’t have to be a big freakin’ secret.

    So some people would disclose their sexual preference at work. I always did when I got to know people well enough. I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever walked in on my first day and said, “Hey guess what! Sometimes I have sex with girls!” but it would come up eventually…especially if I’m in a relationship or have co-workers that go to happy hour frequently…I hit on girls a lot when I drink. It’s easier for me, because I’m bisexual and I pass for straight (among most straight people anyway), so I don’t know how differently I would feel if I were a full-time lesbian. But I know that I don’t like feeling like I have to keep things from people or that it’s perfectly legal to fire me because of some element of my lifestyle that doesn’t affect my work at all.

    So I really do understand the logistical problems, but I also think it sucks to be in the closet. There’s a difference between keeping something to yourself because you haven’t felt like telling anyone and keeping something to yourself because it’ll get you in trouble. Hell, coming out is hard when you know people will totally be accepting…and staying in the closet is hard no matter why you’re doing it. I’m not out to most of my family (although my brother is probably reading this…hi, Bryon) and I still don’t know if it’s worse to be in the closet or to tell my Baptist mother that her fears of me being a lesbian aren’t totally unfounded.

    That was a really long-winded way to say…uh…I get where you’re coming from, but I still think it’s stupid—not your point, but DADT in general.

    It could also be that I think keeping the sexes separate to cut down on the hanky-panky is stupid because people will fuck who they want to when they want to. They always find a way.

    It didn’t work at Christian school, so I don’t see it making a difference anywhere else.

  6. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 1:10 pm · Reply

    Keeping the opposite sex separate doesn’t keep them from having relationships; however, that in addition to legal consequence does keep the number of sexual relationships to a minimum.

    But I wholeheartedly agree with you that DADT is stupid; however, it will take 5-10 years of legislation and another 5-10 years of reorganizing some things in the military before DADT will go away.

    I’m no politician, even though I pretend to be one when picking up stephanies in LoDo, but does the next president have the power to make an executive decision to allow gays in the military or does it have to go through legislation like anything else?

  7. Cap'n Colleen
    Capn Colleen January 31, 2008 at 1:25 pm · Reply

    The President can’t single-handedly repeal DADT. They have to have the support of both houses of Congress. I think at a 2/3 majority (been a long time since my last poli-sci class).

    But, the House is making progress on a measure to repeal the bill and both Clinton and Obama have said they would support overturning it.

    So Congress has the power, but the President can always get in the way. It’s unlikely that Clinton or Obama, should they be elected, would choose to veto the repeal.

    All that said, the measure in the house is in sub-committee right now. It could take a long freakin’ time to get anywhere. Probably late 2009/early 2010 at the absolute earliest.

  8. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 1:57 pm · Reply

    In the meantime. Viva la behind closed doors man on man action.

  9. little levity January 31, 2008 at 2:02 pm · Reply

    Isn’t the idea that you make it the norm and people get used to it? I Just like white males not being the only one with the vote or seeing ladies ankles. I think anyone who was ever a teenager knows that the “if we separate them, they won’t have sexual relations” doesn’t work. If people want to get together they will. And besides, does no one remember the shower scene in Starship Troopers?

  10. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm · Reply

    That is absolutely not the idea when it comes to the military. The military is the always the last to advance because of the sheer size of their organization. Ironically, they are the last to adopt new technology and the last to adopt socio economic polices. It all comes down to individual troop discipline, as stupid as that sounds. Anything that will negatively effect troop discipline is seen as a negative in the decision makers eyes, and, unfortunately, due to the lack of evolutionary progress in a lot of soldiers things like sexual relationships and living in close quarters with homosexuals would disrupt their ability to shoot first and ask questions later.

    If the shower scene in Starship Troopers ever became a reality, enlistment rates would skyrocket. Some of the idiots I met in the army are the types who would voluntarily get shot at just to see a nipple..

  11. Cap'n Colleen
    Capn Colleen January 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm · Reply

    You know, I almost referenced the shower scene in Starship Troopers, but I figured I’d get totally distracted with thoughts of Denise Richards. And now it’s happened anyway.

    I know the military works differently than most other organizations…my dad’s a retired first sergeant, so I get that. And, I suppose there are good reasons why the military functions differently.

    But still….

    In today’s political climate, it’s shit like this that just pisses people off. I mean, if DADT was the only thing standing in the way for equal opportunity for gays, it might not be such a hot topic, but considering no one can get ENDA passed, it’s extra infuriating.

    Discrimination needs to go. I don’t care who gets the ball rolling. It just needs to go.

    Plus, if DADT falls, then ENDA has a better chance of getting through.

  12. Bang Tango'ed January 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm · Reply

    I like the redhead in SS… The feisty fuck off one.

  13. Zachery February 10, 2008 at 8:37 pm · Reply

    I guess the worst thing about DADT (and I get that I’m late coming into this. Forgive me) is that you can’t really talk about relationships at all. It’s not about sex whatsoever.

    I’ve never been in the military, so yeah, my experience is directly tied to the movies I’ve seen. But how often do guys talk about their girls back home? It has to be a cliche for good reason. So it stands to follow that if it’s such a big deal for these guys, why couldn’t it be for gay people too?

    Talking about your girlfriend, or having a picture in general, is, in essence, announcing your sexual preferences. Stripping that from a person, or forcing them to keep mum about it, is just stupid.

    It’s not about sex. It’s not about keeping people separate. It’s about forcing people to not share who they are completely. This means that if a gay person joins the military, they’re forced to just cut out a part of their life, if they have a partner. And that is just not cool.

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