On July 22, 2011, President Barack Obama certified the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. The fight for the repeal of the homophobic policy has become a defining issue for the national LGBT civil rights movement. The repeal of the policy has been widely heralded as a civil rights victory, but it also raises questions about the complex meanings of justice, fairness, and equality under neoliberalism. Thus, the fight for the repeal of DADT provides a vital site of critique for rhetoricians as a location where neoliberal discourses of equality mask an imperialist US agenda. The article uses fantasy-theme criticism, as popularized by Ernest G. Bormann, to analyze reaction to the repeal as it chained out on social-media sites in order to locate the strategies that enable a progressive movement—that is, LGBT civil rights—to become entwined with US imperialism. This analysis illustrates how popular discursive crafting of DADT as a US civil rights issue masks the many ways that the construction “gays in the military” shores up homonormativity and sexual exceptionalism that assist in the deployment of US imperialism.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 93-114
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.