A history lesson

Question: Aside from the presidency, to what government leadership position would you most like to see an openly LGBT person elected or appointed and why?

I would like to see an openly LGBT person as Secretary of Defense.

Why? To repeal the infamous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which blatantly discriminates against us.

Military readiness is not a heterosexual calling.

The military’s belief that service members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender endanger “unit cohesion” only maintains a policy of segregation and fosters a climate of queer hatred. It also maintains the military’s history of intolerance eerily reminiscent of the same argument used when the military was forced to racially integrate its ranks.

Queers in the military were not always forcefully closeted and they have been proudly and openly putting their lives on the line for their countries since antiquity.

The Greeks, for one, favored gay and bisexual young men in their military; since gay and bisexual men were considered a family unit, the Greeks knew that paired male lovers assigned to the same battalions were a military asset. They would fights courageously, side by side, and would die heroically together in battle.

Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), king of Macedonia and noted as one of the greatest military conquerors, was openly bisexual. When his lover Hephaestion died in battle, Alexander not only mourned openly for his lover, but he staged an extravagant funeral that took six months to prepare.

Military drag was a common practice in war during the first century. Heterosexual and queer men were known to cross-dress as women in order to catch their opponents off-guard. First-century historian Josephus wrote in his History of the Jewish War, “While their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with manly right hands.”

Our most well known queers in the military, however, are Jonathan and David in the Old Testament. In Samuel 18:1-3, Jonathan makes a covenant with David and strips off his clothes in front of Jonathan to give him his armor.

In Samuel 20:41, Jonathan and David kiss each other. When Jonathan dies in battle, David conveys his love for Jonathan when he says, in 2 Samuel 1:26: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother! Most dear have you been to me; your love more wonderful to me surpassing the love of women.”

Published August 21, 2008 in 365Gay.com

Comments are closed.