Queer Oppression and Pacifism

Hereth, Blake. "Queer Issues and Pacifism." In The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence, edited by Andrew Fiala, 281-92. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Are there considerations arising from queer oppression that lend credence to some version of pacifism? I defend the view that there are such considerations. First, I shall explore the moral presumption against violence, arguing that the wrong-making properties of violence are shared by other coercive activities, such as “reparative therapy.” This illustrates that what makes violence wrong is also what makes “reparative therapy” wrong, and vice-versa. Second, I address military conscription and the ways in which it wrongs queer persons qua queer persons. In particular, I argue that the highly cisgender-normative procedures for selecting persons for the draft contribute to the oppression of queer persons, and that there are strong moral concerns with coercing queer persons to fight either for nations or citizens who don’t defend (or, worse, oppose) their interests. What this shows is that military conscription can be morally objectionable for reasons beyond those traditionally given—reasons that, while perhaps not unique to queer oppression, are nonetheless grounded in the realities of that oppression.

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