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Machine Wash, Pink: The “Trans Military Ban,” Media, and Pinkwashing the U.S. War Machine

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This article analyzes the “trans military ban” through the lens of activist-director Fiona Dawson’s 2015 New York Times op-doc Transgender, At War and In Love and her 2018 feature film TransMilitary. Using the theories of “pinkwashing” and Derrick Bell’s “interest convergence,” the article argues that some LGBT rights advocates responded to the ban in a way that promoted an agenda of global militarism. In doing so, they also made pro-LGBT sentiment contingent on increased militarism. The article concludes by arguing that discourses of pinkwashing absolve the military-industrial complex of its role in creating the conditions that lead many in the LGBT community to enlist in the first place: poverty, organized abandonment, and anti-LGBT violence.

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This item is under embargo until March 20, 2025.