A reader writes:
One little quibble I have with your reader's analysis: "but the tide has turned on gay rights--and you won."
No. We all win.
We win the continued service of our amazingly brave soldiers, no matter their orientation; we win a greater realization of the ideals on which this country was founded; we win a fuller application of our constitutional rights to all our citizens.
Gay rights isn't something that gay people "win." A lack of full constitutional inclusion and protection for anyone affects everyone--straight people aren't unaffected by prejudice against gays, we're harmed by it, too. In the case of DADT, we are all made less safe when courageous and dedicated soldiers are thrown out of the military, or, worse yet, when potential soldiers do not enlist because they know they are not welcome.
I know my first reader's intention was benign but I agree fully with this point. From the beginning of my work in gay rights, I have tried constantly to avoid identity politics. Virtually Normal was an attempt both to criticize identity politics while offering a civil and integrative political theory (Oakeshottian, of course) for gay inclusion. Few places demonstrate this more than civil marriage and military service - two places where I hope one day the terms "gay" and "straight" will recede as categories in favor of a single one: human.
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