Vortragseinladung 09.06.: S.Estes – Gay Citizenship, Military Service, and Civil Rights

Steve Estes, Associate Professor
Another American Dilemma : Gay Citizenship, Military Service, and Civil Rights
Mittwoch, 09. Juni 2010, 19ct, Von Melle Park 5 („Wiwi Bunker“) 0079

Durch verkettung günstiger Umstände können wir Euch einen Vortrag präsentieren, welcher unsere Reichweite sonst gesprengt hätte, Associate Professor Steve Estes von der Sonoma State University in Kalifornien präsentiert uns seine Forschungsergebnisse. Der Vortrag wird in englischer Sprache gehalten.

Der Referent zu seinem Vortrag:

The “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” policy, implemented as a political compromise in 1993 and 1994, legislated the silence of gay and lesbian soldiers on active duty and in the reserves. I argue that this silence about gays in the military has led to a collective amnesia about the service and sacrifices of homosexual troops. In this case, the politics of military service are also the politics of memory. If we forget that gay and lesbian Americans have served their country, then we as a nation are much less likely to view them as full citizens, deserving of civil rights and equal protection of the law. Oral history provides one way to break this silence, to “ask and tell” about the military careers of gay and lesbian soldiers and to allow these veterans to speak for themselves about the current military policy.

The activist must “Ask and Tell,” but the scholar has a responsibility to do more. My research and interviews with over 50 gay and lesbian veterans of the US military has four primary objectives. First, I chart the evolution of military policies on homosexuality since World War II, and I show that gay and lesbian responses to those policies were far from monolithic. I place the fight to lift the ban of open gay military service in other context of struggles for civil rights, particularly the African American struggle against discrimination and segregation in the US military. Finally, I explore the ways that silence about sexuality and military service has affected the dual – and sometimes dueling – identities of the gay veteran.