I wanted to point to two articles about the intersection of pacifism and LGBTQ activism.
First, via Transracial, the UN has a new report about gender discrimination in counter-terrorism measures, which included a few sections on the unique burdens and dangers imposed on transgender people:
Counter-terrorism measures disproportionately affect women and transgender asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants in specific ways. For example, enhanced immigration controls that focus attention on male bombers who may be dressing as females to avoid scrutiny101 make transgender persons susceptible to increased harassment and suspicion.102 Similarly, counter-terrorism measures that involve increased travel document security,103 such as stricter procedures for issuing, changing and verifying identity documents, risk unduly penalizing transgender persons whose personal appearance and data are subject to change.104 This jeopardizes the right of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities to recognition before the law. In this regard, the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity identify that States must "ensure that procedures exist whereby all State-issued identity papers which indicate a person's gender/sex ... reflect the person's profound self-defined gender identity".105
The report mentions something that often gets lost in discussions in the safety of LGBTQ people, that we're often get the short end of the stick when it comes to both terrorism and counterterrorism, which could also be applied to how we get shafted both by criminals and law enforcement here in the US.
The second article, by foreign relations journalist Chris Hedges at TruthDig, goes into that a bit further....
His column discusses the way mixing both hate crimes legislation and money to prolongue the conflict in Afghanistan is problematic and self-contradictory.
The brutality of Matthew Shepard's killers, who beat him to death for being gay, is a product of a culture that glorifies violence and sadism. It is the product of a militarized culture. We have more police, prisons, inmates, spies, mercenaries, weapons and troops than any other nation on Earth. Our military, which swallows half of the federal budget, is enormously popular--as if it is not part of government. The military values of hyper-masculinity, blind obedience and violence are an electric current that run through reality television and trash-talk programs where contestants endure pain while they betray and manipulate those around them in a ruthless world of competition. Friendship and compassion are banished.
This hyper-masculinity is at the core of pornography with its fusion of violence and eroticism, as well as its physical and emotional degradation of women. It is an expression of the corporate state where human beings are reduced to commodities and companies have become proto-fascist enclaves devoted to maximizing profit. Militarism crushes the capacity for moral autonomy and difference. It isolates us from each other. It has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, our mentally ill, our unemployed, our sick, and yes, our gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual citizens.
Klaus Theweleit in his two volumes entitled "Male Fantasies," which draw on the bitter alienation of demobilized veterans in Germany following the end of World War I, argues that a militarized culture attacks all that is culturally defined as the feminine, including love, gentleness, compassion and acceptance of difference. It sees any sexual ambiguity as a threat to male "hardness" and the clearly defined roles required by the militarized state. The continued support for our permanent war economy, the continued elevation of military values as the highest good, sustains the perverted ethic, rigid social roles and emotional numbness that Theweleit explored. It is a moral cancer that ensures there will be more Matthew Shepards.
Fascism, Theweleit argued, is not so much a form of government or a particular structuring of the economy or a system, but the creation of potent slogans and symbols that form a kind of psychic economy which places sexuality in the service of destruction. The "core of all fascist propaganda is a battle against everything that constitutes enjoyment and pleasure," Theweleit wrote. And our culture, while it disdains the name of fascism, embraces its dark ethic.
Indeed, adding hate crimes legislation into the Defense Authorization bill took attention away from the debate on war funding and put it on LGBT people. But, then again, it's the way the right would want it - they want the war to continue, slightly more than the Democrats do, and would rather not discuss it with the American people since average people don't benefit much from wars against vague enemies or from "nation-building" half a world away.
Queerness in all its forms (that is, ambiguity and individuality when it comes to sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sexuality) is problematic for authoritarian figures of all stripes, and any war is going to involve, on some level, both sides fighting against queer populations.
It's what's troublesome when some queer liberals discuss the Global War on Terror; usually someone will eventually mention that the other side (i.e. Muslim people) don't particularly like queer people, so the side we're on should be pretty easy to pick. Fuck them, it's not like they like us all that much.
Which is troubling because it's not like militaristic folks in the US are all that pro-queer either. It's no surprise to me that the US has the biggest and most-used military in the world and is alone among Western nations when it comes to banning LGBTQ people from the military. And the poeple who want war the most are generally the same ones who are against our rights. Those Democrats who are quick to prove their moral values creds tend the be the same ones who fantasize about fighting more wars against more enemies... especially when they're never the targets of bombs or have to fight in a battlefield themselves.
A security state will always oppose fluidity and individuality. The reason people in power invoke danger and construct threats is to shore up power for themselves, and authoritarianism is the natural enemy of people deciding for themselves how to live. When fearful, people seek out stability and start to see ambiguity and complexity themselves as enemies.
I wouldn't put it quite as Hedges did, that war seeks to destroy feminity, but more that it accepts rigid, suffocating, and destructive definitions of either masculity or femininity and opposes everything else. Part of that definition of femininity is submission, part of that definition of masculinity is cruelty, but neither is the inherent, peace-time definition of the words.
But, for those of us who live even a little bit outside of those gender roles that we were assigned at birth, we should know that the real enemy is authoritarianism and fundamentalism in all forms, which is why the anti-war position is the pro-queer position.