Hey America, Let’s Repeal DADT, Also That ‘Gay Men Are Sexual Predators’ Myth

THE MILITARY:

Probably you have already heard about the gay man, Keiran Daly, who was beaten up and given mild brain damage in Savannah outside a gay bar. Daly had two seizures and his friends had to perform CPR before police arrived. We have not yet written about this because of our FUN FUN FUN server issues this weekend, so we’re talking about it right now! Two Marines have been charged in the beating.

Keil Joseph Cronauer and Charles Stanzel told police they were trying to get away from a gay man who was harassing them. Daly told police one of the Marines hit him because he thought he was winking at him.

First of all, Daly says he was just squinting. But even if he was winking, this is ridiculous. Sidenote, if everyone got beat up every time they sexually harrassed anyone by winking, think of all the bosses in corporate America who would have serious black eyes. Anyway, the two Marines were handed over to military police, and the FBI is investigating to see if federal hate crime laws might come into play. The state of Georgia has no hate crime laws. Also yesterday, I found out that a good friend of mine was at the very intersection where Daly was found just two hours before the beating happened. Talk about scary. This could happen to anyone, even to your friends.

Tracey Harris-Cooper, via sldn.org

This whole situation is just screaming for a DADT-based analysis, isn’t it? Yep. Before we do that, read this letter to President Obama from Former Army Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris, discharged under DADT. It’s definitely the most heartbreaking thing I’ve read this week; maybe the most heartbreaking thing I’ve read on this subject ever. Which is saying a lot.

It’s unfair to say that the two Marines in Savannah represent the whole of the US armed forces, but I do think it’s fair to say that the “sexually predatory gay man” argument for DADT is pretty fucking insanely backwards. Moreover, it’s not just that the military is a little slow getting over this one outdated policy on the gays. It’s clear from instances like this beating that DADT is just one facet of the military’s pervasive homophobia, the one that is most visible from the outside. It’s clear from these stories that the military is a deeply homophobic institution.

For those of us with no military ties — and especially for those in liberal circles for whom the military is an institution you vaguely disapprove of, like Walmart — the fight to repeal DADT can sometimes seem almost symbolic. It’s about getting one more piece of paper signed, one more bill in our favor, one more box to check off on the pathway to equality. I think it’s hard sometimes for us to realize how real this is, how big the obstacles are even beyond just repealing the policy.

The military is one of the last institutions in the country that is given a free pass to openly discriminate. They have declared their space to be aggressively heterosexual and specifically unwelcoming to queers. The only thing that can rival it are religious institutions. To chip away at that kind of privilege, at the sense of entitlement that has hurt Cooper-Harris and Daly so badly, is an incredible thing.

On an individual level, forcing the military to adopt a less heterosexist doctrine could literally save lives. And on a larger structural level, making the military give up the kind of power that allowed her comrades to abuse Cooper-Harris so badly would be a huge step. It’s a concession that they never thought they would have to make, privilege they never thought they would have to give up. So while this doesn’t have to change any of your views on the repeal or how best to achieve it, try to remember what it means, and what a world without it could look like.

BLOOD:

The ban on blood donations from gay men in the US — a relic left over from a time when it was difficult to test for HIV — will be around for a while longer. The Federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability voted 9 to 6 against lifting the ban Friday. This committee makes recommendations to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A lot of activist groups were unhappy with the decision, and so was the Red Cross. (@cnn)

CULTURE WARS:

Indiana’s Republican governor Mitch Daniels has made a polite suggestion to the rest of his party that they might think about going easy on the “culture wars” that have been one of its major focuses since the Reagan administration; he says that focusing on things like the economy and international relations might be a better use of time and energy. Mike Huckabee, however, is quick to explain that “…the issue of life and traditional marriage are not bargaining chips nor are they political issues. They are moral issues. I didn’t get involved in politics just to lower taxes and cut spending though I believe in both and have done it as a Governor.” So, to recap: we need to keep rehashing abortion and gay marriage because they are moral and not political issues. Good to know! (@goodasyou)

SAILOR:

Confusingly, the missing sixteen-year-old sailor we mentioned on Friday has already been rescued. Abby Sunderland was found in her disabled sailboat in the southern Indian Ocean and is now safe and sound. (@salon)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT:

Lesbian ex-cop Arlene Ramery is suing the NYPD for sexual harassment. She claims that during her time with the force (as the only female detective) she was surrounded by pornographic material objectifying women, was constantly abused by her fellow policemen and told she was “worthless,” and essentially denied any more cases after she was hurt on the job. In contrast, the NYPD is claiming that, as a lesbian, Ramery consistently harassed female inmates and “undressed them with her eyes” in a way that “made the males uncomfortable.” (@nydailynews)

Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 131 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. a woman “made the males uncomfortable” by “undressing women with her eyes”? i have a feeling those are the same men who told me at my job the other day that even though i was bundled up because of the cold, they would “use their imagination” if i wouldn’t mind walking by their table every ten minutes or so.

  2. I’ve felt so embarrassed for my home state and to acknowledge any allegiance to GA ever since I heard about this story. This is so depressing I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know whether to attribute this to homophobia present in the state (quite prevalent), in the military, or a combination of both. Although I realize this could happen anywhere, I just wanna give my state a swift kick in the crotch because protection from hate crimes is imperative. Does anyone know if federal law will apply since it happened outside of the military base?

    “It’s unfair to say that the two Marines in Savannah represent the whole of the US armed forces, but I do think it’s fair to say that the ‘sexually predatory gay man’ argument for DADT is pretty fucking insanely backwards.” – so true.

  3. is anyone else so confused by the missing 16 year old
    it’s under the headline “Pope”
    and the link doesn’t work.
    I’m starting to think this is all one giant autoconspiracy and you guys managed to fool all the major news outlets and now you’re sitting here being like “lol we’re awesome”.

    • Agreed. I’m pretty certain my heart is broken after reading it.

      Also, I feel what happened to her was rape, or at least “sexual assault” rather than just “sexual harassment.”

  4. I am never going to America. Ever.
    I’m just going to sit here in a country that doesn’t give a crap about teh gays except for during Mardi Gras and wait patiently for Tony Abbott to be elected so I can flush my dreams of same sex marriage ever being legalised down the drain.

  5. Let me offer a little happy news: Cameron (new British PM) is pledging to support a crackdown on homophobic bullying in schools, and to guarantee refugee status to people being persecuted because of their sexual orientation. If that isn’t fucking great I don’t know what is.

    He is not however lifting our ban on MSM giving blood either. AAAGH.

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