But no solution can do more than paper over an uncomfortable reality of life in the trenches: that the male bonding so prized by military commanders—the willingness to die for one’s buddies—can engender another kind of closeness as well.Many GIs recognize homosexual leanings for the first time in the all-male surroundings.
It would just make me sick.” —Sergeant Stan Ronell, Fort Ord, California SIGMUND FREUD OBSERVED HALF A century ago that men seldom live comfortably with their manhood; they are stuck with constantly having to prove it.
“It’s a version of order, congratulating one’s tormentors.” There did seem a need for a kind of ritual humiliation, perhaps on the notion that it toughened a man up.
Drag shows: Afloat, some of the rituals are even more bizarre, like the Dionysian initiation rites, including simulated acts of sodomy, that sailors may undergo for their first equator crossing.
Military men seem to fear that those feelings could turn the barracks into seething love nests. “Romantic interests, even if unconsummated, would shatter the bonds that add up to unit cohesion.” The authors thus invoked a reigning myth of the current debate, which sees the ideal of virtuous male bonding threatened by ungovernable homosexual lusts. Homosexuality remains exotic and forbidding terrain for most servicemen.
“With openly gay and heterosexual personnel together, sexual tension would fester 24 hours a day,” says a recent op-ed page piece written by Bernard E. Many have never known a gay man or woman and can barely imagine what their lives are like.