Remember when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a thing? It was a time when we actually asked men and women to die for our country while simultaneously asking them to omit parts of their identities. Isn’t the military a great place to be when you can hide who you truly are? Rolling with the theme of half-truths, someone was witty enough to pull together a collection of 1940s wartime propaganda that are, well, a little gay and put them on Repeal DADT postcards in the early 2000s.

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DADT was based on fear. A fear that gays would make other soldiers uncomfortable, that camaraderie would be lost, and trust would be non-existent. But the way I see it, omitting important details about yourself isn’t usually the best way to go about building productive and meaningful relationships. God forbid that the Army goes all gay and loses its edge because soldiers are sharing important parts of themselves.

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These images, and ones like them, were once used to entice young men to join the army. The men are ripped, hairless, and spending the majority of their time bathing. I’m ready to join up myself. But really, it’s a common theme that the military points out the good in situations– gay people can join if they don’t come out, if you join the army you’re going to a spa– and leaves out the bad.

I reached out to my own Gay Army to get input. He was sensitive to the propagandist nature and original intent of the cards. He felt that it was inappropriate for anyone, gay or straight, to use them for humor because they are unrealistic depictions of war. “They [make] it seem like a boys club rather than a death sentence.” He disliked knowing that young men were most likely misled by similar images and material when signing up or being drafted.

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He did go on to note that he expected none other than the gay community to successfully subvert the cards into something humorous and politically telling, “It makes sense. Gays had been serving and dying in the Armed Forces for years while being treated as second-class citizens.”

Why not take the military’s own super-duper gay advertisements and make them into a collection saying, “Hey look. Army has always been gay, right? What are you afraid of?”

Another friend pointed out there is no love or companionship in these images. They are totally sexual in nature. Pointing to another key piece of the policy that one couldn’t be discharged from the military for being gay unless it was proven through the performance of gay acts. The postcards are a funny way to ask, “What’s a gay act?” How gay can we get before we’re too gay?

 

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Apparently… pretty gay. Especially now, as we happily discuss DADT as a memory. Happy Pride Week everyone, and enjoy a few more of our favorite DADT post cards below!

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