Yasmin Nair

Against Equality: The Naked Truth about DADT

Filed By Yasmin Nair | November 15, 2011 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: 2B magazine, Against Equality, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Mattilda Berbstein Sycamore, R Conrad, Ryan Conrad, Sex + Health

ryan's face shot.jpgWell, the rumours are true: the naked truth about Against Equality, the collective that brought you Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, is that we will stop at nothing to draw your attention to our work.

In a few weeks, AE will unveil the second in its trilogy of radical queer anthologies. What better way to reveal and entice readers towards this fabulous new project than to, well, reveal more than you thought you'd ever know about Ryan Conrad, editor of the latest volume, Against Equality: Don't Ask to Fight Their Wars?

As some or many of you know, Ryan (a fellow Bilerico contributor) recently relocated to Montreal and was featured in the latest issue of 2B magazine, a popular local queer monthly publication, as part of its Sex + Health themed issue. Several Montreal queers posed in the nude or, well, almost nude, with bits strategically hidden by emblems of their careers and passions. As you can see, Ryan's pic reveals much about the length and breadth of our scholarship.

The big reveal after the jump. NSFW. No, really. NSFW


Photo credit: C├ęsar Ochoa

But seriously, though: check out the amazing photo but also check out our new and forthcoming publication. This will include an introduction written specially for us by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, a cover designed by the brilliant Chris Vargas, essays by such writers as Kenyon Farrow, Erica Meiners, and Tamara K. Nopper, and three mini-posters by the always- provocative Mr. Fish.


This anthology is as provocative and daring as Ryan's pic. The works featured here question the mainstream gay community's decades-long campaign to repeal DADT, critically arguing that it is about far more than inclusion or "civil rights" or "equality." In piece after piece, writers and artists examine how such representations of the campaign erase the ways in which the military industrial complex, the largest employer in the U.S, has encroached upon and exploited the most vulnerable amongst us by offering itself as a conduit for upward mobility.

Some examples: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's introduction describes what it meant to be a young, teen queer who began her activism in the years when AIDS was still a rallying point for queers and who saw the connections between that activism and anti-war protests. Sycamore reminds us that queerness once meant acting against the naked aggression of a state that would simultaneously deny health care to queers and deploy its troops in other countries.

Tamara K. Nopper's "Why I Oppose Repealing DADT and Passage of the DREAM Act" looks at how the DREAM Act [Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, designed to provide a pathway to citizenship for those who are undocumented because they were brought here as minors by their parents] will "increase the size and power of the U.S. military and the Department of Defense..." by effectively exploiting a desire for citizenship amongst a vulnerable population.

As Nopper points out, those who critque the DADT and the DREAM Act are usually silenced both by straight progressives and immigrant communities who are afraid of being labeled homophobic or who wish to use the most politically expedient tactics to gain documentation for some.

It is this sort of silencing, political inaction, and suppression of radical energy that compels the existence of our anthology. We see it as an archive of dissent and critical thought around the issue of DADT. We argue for the possibility of a queer present and future where the military is not our dream fulfilled but only a nightmare of a past filled with relentless aggression and exploitation.

And, well, hell, we argue that there is nothing merely imaginary about exposing the naked truth about DADT and what it represents, and we take our injunction to expose said truth quite literally.

So stroll by 2B, take in Ryan and then stroll over to our website, which is currently being revamped, and look out for Against Equality: Don't Ask to Fight Their Wars. It will be available at www.againstequality.org and our distributor AK Press.

As with our previous anthology, we will be making this one available for free to people in prisons.

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Sweet begonia! Can we see the back cover too? :)

I would love an explanation of what exactly you mean when you say critics of DADT and the DREAM act are "silenced".