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Queer issues

Queer/gender and militarism

Presentation at the international study conference “Countering the Militarisation of Youth”, Darmstadt, Germany, 8-10 June 2012


Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International


Antimilitarism and gender – the challenge of integration

Talk by Andreas Speck, staff at War Resisters' International, at the launch of Cynthia Cockburn's book ‘Antimilitarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements’ at Housmans Bookshop, 21 April 2012


First of all I want to thank Cynthia for giving me the opportunity to say something today, although I haven't read the whole book yet.


I am familiar with her research, as WRI is one of the organisations which were part of her research. I think we very much welcomed it when she approached us a few years ago, and we are thankful for the challenge this posed, and for being pushed to reflect on the challenges of integrating feminism and gender into our antimilitarist practice. When Cynthia called me earlier this week and asked me to talk today, it had a similar effect again.

A queer antimilitarist perspective on the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' in the US

In December 2010, the US House of Representatives and the Senate both voted to repeal the policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), introduced by then President Bill Clinton in 1993 in relation to gay and lesbian service personnell. US President Obama signed the act on 22 December 2010. Although the bill will not come into force immediately, it is already being praised as a major victory for gays and lesbians in the USA. It is presently not known if ongoing or future discharges of openly gay or bisexual service members will cease now, after Obama signed the bill, after the 60-day period following the reception of a comprehensive review, or at some later point. It is expected that the law will be fully implemented within the military structure by the end of 2011.

Militarization and masculinities

Refusing militarism is not possible without refusing hegemonic masculinity


  • Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International

Just being gay is not a political programme


Reflections on Mardi Gras 2001


  • Andreas Speck

London's gay scene is preparing for Gay Pride on 30th June. Again a big commercial party in Finsbury Park - lots of music, lots of drugs, and … a little bit of politics, just enough to still call it a demonstration. This year Mardi Gras will highlight gay partnership rights, the last big issue that remains open after gays won over the British government on the issue of gays in the military. But what is all this about?

Collective identities: trap or tool for empowerment?

Collective identities — „we" as queers, as whatever group you like — are often perceived as empowering, as providing a sense of belonging. On the other hand through their very existence, collective identities produce new boundaries of „in" and „out", and new norms of behaviour that limit peoples’ freedom to be and to do. Not only can identity be disempowering, but it can also threaten peoples’ lives, as nationalist and homophobic attacks show. Maybe I’m stating the obvious here. I consider none of all the collective identities normally discussed (be they ethnic, gender, or nation-based) as „natural"; all of them are social constructions. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that they don’t have an influence on our lives, but it means that we have an active role too in our collective identities, in stabilising or de-constructing them. As I am a gay man, I will mainly write from this perspective. However, I’m convinced similar processes are at work in the construction of other collective identities, and therefore my thoughts are not limited to issues of gay identities.

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by Dr. Radut