Queer and antimilitarism is the theme of this Broken Rifle, and we hope this will create some debate within WRI and beyond. Most articles have been written especially for this issue, with the exception of Tamara K Nopper's article on Don't Ask Don't Tell, which we republish from Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars. Don't Ask Don't Tell was finally repealed in December 2010, but this does not make her arguments less important.
1. Militarism is not just a war, an army or a fighter jet. Militarism is a system, a logic and a set of norms that perpetuates and recreates our societies and our daily lives. Queer analysis of power is a political tool that can help us to challenge these norms. Queer liberation isn't about equality within a patriarchal and militarist system, it is about going beyond the politics of inclusion and creating future just societies that do not merely recreate systems of power under different names.
Steve Biko, an anti-apartheid activist, once said the oppressed aspire to be the oppressor. This is true when it comes to the effects of war on minorities such as LGBTI people. In most African countries for instance, the issue of homosexuality has been used by power hungry politicians to hoodwink people into believing that homosexuality is the cause of their misery.
War Resisters' International (WRI), the international network of pacifist organisations with more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries, calls for an end to the harassment of our affiliate Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) and to the physical attacks on members of GALZ. Furthermore, WRI strongly condemns the violation of basic human rights of the members of GALZ, such as freedom of association, freedom from arbitrary arrest, and freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
One of the first books I read about Asian American feminism was the anthology Dragon ladies: Asian American feminists breathe fire. In one of the essays, author Juliana Pegues describes scenes from a “radical Asian women’s movement.” One such scene involves lesbian and bisexual Asian and Pacific Islanders marching at Gay Pride with signs reading “Gay white soldiers in Asia? Not my liberation!” and “ends with the absence of all soldiers, gay and straight, from any imperialist army.”
This work would not have been possible without the work of Against Equality, an online archive, publishing, and arts collective focused on critiquing mainstream gay and lesbian politics. As queer thinkers, writers and artists, Against Equality is committed to dislodging the centrality of equality rhetoric and challenging the demand for inclusion in the institution of marriage, the US military, and the prison industrial complex via hate crimes legislation.
Against Equality want to reinvigorate the queer political imagination with fantastic possibility!
“In the time of a parliamentary coup d'etat, the machos bloom, everything becomes heroic and manly. Among the abusers and the abused, nobody wants to be history's pansy. We are all men according to that which is imposed as the official dispute. Many flags, many anthems, much shouting, many orders, everything very militant. Luckily the resistance is odd and so there is resistance to such orthodox masculinity and militarism, from the right to the left. There is a preference for abandon, laughter, rashness and non-cooperation, for busting our asses before screwing, tickling and disarming.
South Korea is a conservative country with strong patriarchal and heteronormative traditions, where queers and conscientious objectors have difficulty fitting in. Especially because the South Korea military maintains a conscription system, the military strongly influences the way in which Korean men's gender identity is shaped. “Masculinity” is something that I don't have, but in the conservative South Korean society people find it odd and make queers like me feel ashamed and embarrassed - which often leads us to blame ourselves for not being able to satisfy society's criteria of normality.
This morning I read an article entitled "Queer young South Koreans getting on the march" published in the Hankyoreh, a daily newspaper in South Korea. The article was about a Korean high school lesbian couple who has been together for almost 100 days (an important milestone in a South Korean relationship). The reporter wrote about how they loved each other but faced difficulties and discrimination as a sexual minority. As usual, some people on the internet responded to the article with hateful and unreasonable comments. I am very much used to such hatred but I was still hurt.
Within Turkish society, which is dominated by a spiral of 'masculinity' and 'military service', sexism and homophobia are ever present. Militarist institutions humiliate and label homosexuals, they treat them carelessly and make their life miserable, especially when it comes to the 'military service'. Firstly, the army as an institution has been presented as a gift that remains out of reach if one is gay.
The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of WRI, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 93, August 2012.
This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Cattis Laska and Andreas Speck. Special thanks go to Alvine Anderson, Jungmin Choi, Miles Tanhira, Tamara K Nopper, Pelao Carvallo, Yu Min-Seok, Tomato, Ali Erol, Hilal Demir, Mr. Fish, Albert Beale and many others – especially to our team of voluntary translaters.
If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download it from our website.