“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Take your wars and go to hell”
With so much discourse currently happening over the possible repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I thought I’d share my perspective. As an anti-imperialist that opposes any form of terror inflicted on either humyn or non-humyn animals, I feel as if the LGBT movement is using its resources inefficiently by getting behind a campaign like this. Although in principle, sexual orientation based discrimination is something we should all fight to end, I don’t think it’s empowering to be ‘out’ in a governmental organization that actively maims and oppresses other nations and peoples. Empowerment does not involve the subordination of other groups. To direct our efforts, resources, time, and money towards a few queer people in the military who take on the active role of oppressor is to agree with the perpetuation of a system of hierarchy that this society operates on—the same hierarchy that queer people have, for centuries, found themselves at the bottom of.
Rather than scrambling our way to the top by trampling over others, as queer people we must challenge and dismantle the system of hierarchy that put us in our ‘subordinate’ position in the first place. As an oppressed group, we must oppose all mechanisms that are used to oppress other living beings. ‘Empowering’ ourselves by oppressing others does not liberate anyone, it only normalizes the unnatural system of hierarchy that this country operates under by perpetuating the notion that there are others considered ‘less than’ who don’t deserve to live a life free of pain and suffering. At its core, it reinforces the idea that some living beings have more of a right to live than others and that this classification is dictated by a ‘natural’ order based on ‘inherent’ worth. Rather than deserving the right to live a life free from pain and suffering simply because exist, hierarchy gives us a socially constructed worth that places limits in the things we can and can’t do. It dictates just how much someone deserves to live based on their position, with those at the very bottom (which includes queer people, as well as wimmin, people of color, and animals) having little worth. It will only be until we smash hierarchy that we will be able to enjoy true liberation.
With the deconstruction of hierarchy in mind, rather than directing our efforts towards ‘empowering’ a few queer people who take part in the oppression of other nations and peoples, we should instead re-direct our efforts of queer visibility in others sectors of society. Mainstream acceptance of queer people should be achieved by demonstrating all the contributions we can make on our terms, not theirs. And it shouldn’t come at the oppression of others.
– Allan Yaxon, Smash Queerphobia