I keep thinking the other day about our discussion about terminology—what exactly it meant to be gay, masculine, effeminate, etc. Classmates have brought up the point, I think rightly so, that for men in perceptibly “less masculine” sport/profession (for instance, figure skating), being found to a homosexual is less shocking than if someone in a perceptibly “more masculine” sport/profession (for instance, the NFL) is found to be gay.
What I felt was missing in our discussion, however, is the current and ongoing issue of the LGBT community within the U.S. military.
Given the recent exposure in the last couple of weeks with President Obama proposing to lift the band and several head military officials, including Gates and Mullen, fits perfectly into our question about where the seeds of change concerning gay-effeminacy and gay-masculinity begin to change. The U.S. military, which is arguably one of the countries most masculine institutions, not only has the administrative support by top and respected military professionals, but also popular support among the American people to over turn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
If the military is more open and LGBT friendly to America’s service men and women, do you think that would make a marked difference in public perception of the gay community? Or, does it only apply to those service men found to be gay within a wholly “masculine” role? Can one of America’s most respected, nationalistic institutions help people respect people for their person and not their sexuality? Or, will the terms that we have self imposed on people, institutions, and the like doomed to always be present, even in a diminished capacity?
Browsing through recent TIME magazine articles here and here, I hope, perhaps idealistically so, that it does. I hope that by such a male dominated, constructed, and admired “masculine” profession serving in the military comes along with, that by top officials saying that, “No, this is wrong and we should appeal it” makes it less shocking for a man to come out as gay not only to his fellow service men and women, but also everyone else in his life.