Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Quantum Leap Tackles Gays in the Military": Matt Baume adapts an old sci-fi sitcom to give a brief history of the DADT policy and repeal

Matt Baume (on Patreon) presents “Quantum Leap Tackles Gays in the Military” (2019).

“Quantum Leap” was a sci-fi series where Sam goes back to the past and borrows the body of someone and changes the future.  His companion is a holographic character named Al.  (In Dan Fry’s “To Men of Earth”, that’s the name of the human-looking alien.)

The video frames little scenes from the episode, focusing back in 1964 where Sam inhabits the body of a gay sailor, closeted, who has to change his behavior to avoid a lynch mob.  (That was the year of real lynch mobs in Mississippi against three civil rights workers.)

The character survives to participate in Stonewall in 1969, although, as Matt notes, most of the participants were fluid or drag queens and not macho-men like Sam.
The narrative does note how the AIDS epidemic forced a lot of men "out of the closet", and curiously the "personal responsibility" or "chain letter" narrative from the right wing that became so threatening in the mid 1980s was largely forgotten. 
The rest of the episode recalls 1992-1933, when Bill Clinton proposed eliminating the ban on gays in the military.  Republicans went to their base, and Clinton had to settle for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue”.  It would have been nice to mention Keith Meinhold, Joe Steffan, and Tracy Thorne. 

Another video, on Trump’s transgender ban, seems in order.

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