After languishing for more than a decade in discriminatory indifference to the plight of homosexual veterans, the Senate finally lifted, last year, in a 65-31 vote, "don't ask, don't tell," the Clinton-era law that prohibits openly gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers from serving their country. President Obama lobbied hard for the law's erasure, as did Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who ordered early release of a pro-repeal Pentagon report on the issue, and Lady Gaga, who headlined a Maine rally and YouTube video condemning the measure. Hey, pop stars have power, too. Most of these efforts gained little traction, however, until Virginia A. Phillips, a federal judge based in California's Central District, ruled, in September, that the keep-it-in-the-closet policy violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of military personnel, along with their rights to free association and substantive due process—the latter of which, it should be stated, compels "an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression and certain intimate conduct," according to the Lawrence v. Texas decision that struck down sodomy laws in 2003.
Unfortunately, at a time when so-called "values conservatives" are saying that the "homosexual agenda and freedom cannot coexist" (that gem comes courtesy of Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association), simply championing the repeal of blatantly discriminatory military policies doesn't go far enough, since it fails to interrogate the statist appropriations of critical semiotics through which Tea Party adherents, like South Carolina Sen. Jim Demint and Arizona Sen. John McCain, are attempting to re-narrate gender and sexuality. Augmenting epistemological strains of queer theory that foreground questions of how gender and sexuality are known, one can, and perhaps must, ask: Can sexuality be reontologized to produce emacipatory subjectivities that, in Arun Saldanha's terms, "demand particular concepts and commitments?"
While Saldanha argues for a critical reevaluation of phenotypical difference along materialist, rather than discursively representational, lines, his analysis is instructive for discussions of other corporeal formations. If the cultural and biological dimensions of sexuality and/or gender are hybridized, corporeality, itself, is illuminated as a site of continual contestation, in which molecular sexualities submerged within the Judeo-Christian sexual hierarchy are revealed as always already immanent to the molar sexualities such a hierarchy deploys for the sake of disciplining sexual experience within a panopticized biopolitical order. To resist the naturalization of imperative corporeal differences, Saldanha cites the literature of Elizabeth Grosz, who contends:
Thus, when myriad sexual preferences and gender populations begin to inhabit a literal, as well as constitutionally, "mutual" space, the strident prejudice of sexual mandates is exposed as a contingently affirmative expression of the anglocratic (essentially Caucasian and patrician) historiography upon which the liberal democratic textual field is written. Such displacement, in turn, deterritorializes heteronormative means of socioeconomic productivity, power and wealth to the point of release from the complex interactions between homophobia and the metric sensibilities of the state.
If the mind is necessarily linked to, perhaps even a part of, the body and if bodies are always sexually (and racially) distinct, incapable of being incorporated into a singular universal model, then the very forms that subjectivity takes are not generalizable. Bodies are always irreducibly sexually specific, necessarily interlocked with racial, social and class particularities. This interlocking, though, cannot occur by way of intersection (the gridlike model presumed by structural analysis, in which the axes of class, race and sex are conceived as autonomous structures which then require external connections with the other structures) but by way of mutual constitution (Grosz, Volatile Bodies, 1994).
Intimately linked to this process of deterritorialization is the necessity of becoming-minoritarian, which, as Paul Patton says, "refers to the potential of every element to deviate from the standard or norm that defines the majority (Patton, Deleuze and the Political, 2000)." Minorities, in the traditional sense, and becoming-minor are related, in that both presuppose alienation from modes of power articulated by the state machine, with the latter being catalyzed within discourses of the former because of the claustrophobic spatiality within which most putative minorities live. Becoming-minor is not, however, a striving toward representation of identity status, and it is here that the utility of the concept for sexual claims is made visible. For in planting a multiplicity of micro-sexualities inside the social imaginary, becomings arrest the fundamental domination of patriarchal politics ("don't ask, don't tell" being patriarchal in both its military context and its predatory essentialization of homosexuals as antithetical to masculine troop cohesion) and give lie to the teleological assumptions upon which suppressive social cartography rests. Nonetheless, it is impossible to become-majoritarian, rendering those seeking a seat in the moral legislature incapable of uttering a truly revolutionary thought. Is it any wonder, then, that the most transformative agent of change has been the aforementioned Lady Gaga, who has made a career out of redistributing differential power and affects by evading molar assignment of any orientation, sexual or otherwise, for longer than the length of a music video?