BY SUSIE DAY | SNIDE LINES | The moment President Barack Obama signed the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, this reporter flew to the Persian Gulf to get the real story. I asked several gay and lesbian service people how they got there, and what they feel about their newly won rights.
PRIVATE CLYDE, AFGHANISTAN: First, I came out as a gay man. Then I became a Marxist. Then I joined the Proletarian Demonstrationists Party. But I noticed they hated gay people. So I hooked up with the Revolutionary Queer Dating Service. Then I got into animal rights. But all I really ever did in any of those civilian groups was to hang out with a bunch of dysfunctional leftists and never get any dates.
So then, I was reading this article on Private Bradley Manning being held in solitary confinement because they say he released all these classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, along with a video showing an Apache helicopter attacking unarmed civilians. I asked myself how the Army was able to attract a kid like Manning, who apparently cares more about the truth than his own well-being.
Then I realized this pivotal thing: unlike the Left, the US military really knows how to recruit! It also dawned on me that the countries that make the most wars produce the most liberated gay people. Breakthrough!
So I enlisted in the Army and started this cutting-edge political movement: Homo-Imperialism. Its acronym is HI, which I feel is a friendly and outgoing statement. And with the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, it's getting even friendlier. No surprise, my social life has never been better.
I am over here to make the world safe for gay lib. You want one of our “Nuke the Islamo-Homophobes” T-shirts? A button? We Homo-Imperialists feel that our liberated example can make all the difference to Third-World queers. When our Afghan brothers and sisters see us all suited up with our flame-throwers and rocket launchers, spitting and peeing into the sand like bona fide heterosexuals, they may begin to see how empowering it is to embrace a gay identity.
Right now, there are approximately 94,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Let's assume that 10 percent of these troops are gay. Our group meets every Tuesday night at 9:30 in my tent. If we work this movement right, I may never be lonely again.
MAJOR BETTY, AFGHANISTAN: There I am, see? In this photo, I'm in my combat gear, popping out of the cockpit of my Rockwell B-1 Lancer with my ten-month-old daughter Amber Jean in my arms. It was in our hometown paper the day I left for my tour of duty. Isn't she cute?
My ex-husband says I look like one of them Ninja Turtles. Screw him — not literally, a course. You can't be soft and nurturing all the time. That's why I'm a lesbian. In fact, if the US of A is going to budget $119.4 billion to keep us in Afghanistan for the year 2011, then I say screw soft and nurturing, too.
LGBT movement-types point to me when the anti-war college kids criticize them for encouraging gays to become out-and-proud killing machines. They say the Army is about the only way gay people like me from poor backgrounds can get an economic leg up. Right on! I'm over here for Amber Jean, so she can grow up free and democratic and have all the advantages. Not like these kids here.
Did you know that in 2009, 1,050 Afghan kids died in suicide attacks, roadside bombs, air strikes, and various crossfire incidents? We're here to change that and make it more like America, where you have a God-given right to love your kids and go to the mall to buy them lots of useless crap without getting shot.
Someday, I want to be able to give my little Amber her first iPhone. I want to see her grow up with straight teeth and go to a good school. But she can't do that with terrorists popping out of the woodwork like we got here.
So I figure if our military spends $119.4 billion to stay in this hellhole one more year, and if hundreds of these kids keep getting killed, pretty soon those crazy Muslims are going to wake up to the fact that democracy is the only way to go. Then we can all afford to be soft and nurturing.
PRIVATE FIRST-CLASS WALTER, IRAQ: To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why I'm here. Oil? Empire? Falafel? You got me.
Funny — there used to be so much homophobic resistance from the military brass about putting us gays into the military. Like they were worried that we'd come on to the straight dudes in the shower and fuck up the war.
But a lot of that attitude changed once it became irrefutable that we were stuck in some “quagmire” and had no chance of winning anything, and how, because of this disastrous war effort, the US was crumbling, socially, economically, politically.
Did anybody notice that was when they repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell?
So here we are, ever so gay, in the Persian Gulf. Most dangerous place in the world. All you can see for miles is queer troops — nary a hetero in the bunch. Yep, looks like the same folks who repealed DADT wanted us to show our gratitude by putting our lives on the front lines…
Oh well. Small enough price to pay for equality, I guess. Whatever — as long as somebody, somewhere, takes me seriously.