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Disability, straight time, and the American Dream

Published: 27 July 2021

Abstract: In the lives of injured US veterans of the post-9/11 wars, rehabilitation and heteronormativity are intertwined. Straight time names the ways these imperatives come together in fantasies of the heteronormative life course. This life course is central to the middle-class, white-coded American Dream, in which disability appears only at life's end. Chasing this dream brings many into the US military, but military service often imperils, rather than secures, that dream. Attention to efforts to straighten out life's temporality in the long aftermath of injury reveals a tension between a desire for a heteronormative life course and the experience of living otherwise. As these tensions surface, the cruelty of normative aspirations and their temporal frames become clear. The framework of straight time thus highlights how normative desires are complicated by sometimes-unexpected attachments to queerness and disability, even in the intensely normative cultural space of the US military. [disability, veterans, heteronormativity, temporality, United States]
Keywords: Dream / heteronormative / straight time / tension / course / military / American / veterans

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