NOW THAT THE SMOKE has begun to clear from the battle over the military’s ban on lesbian and gay service personnel, it has become obvious that the way in which the issue of race was debated throughout this battle contributed to the failure to overturn the ban. Race was frequently evoked as an issue that determined the viability of gay and lesbian civil rights, for these were measured by the extent to which they could be equated with Black people’s struggles to overcome racial discrimination in the armed forces. The evocation of race was initiated by gays and lesbians themselves, many of whom offered problematic analysis of the similarities between Black and gay experiences in the military. David M. Smith, for instance, spokesperson for the Campaign for Military Service, a coalition of gay and civil rights groups that oppose the ban, claimed that the arguments forwarded “50 years ago” by “opponents of integration” are the “same arguments being heard today” to rationalize the military’s ban. As far as Smith was concerned, one just had to “[s]ubstitute [the words] ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ “ for the word “Negro” (Reza A3). That this trivializes how the politics of race determined the language the military used fifty years ago, and as well sheds no light whatsoever on the complexities with which the antigay policy is constructed, is certainly an understatement. Such arguments proved to be an annoying distraction in an important political moment.