Warrior Ways: Explorations in Modern Military Folklore

By Eric A. Eliason; Tad Tuleja | Go to book overview

7
Taser to the ‘Nads
Brutal Embrace of Queerness in Military Practice

Mickey Weems

Queers and the military have made strange bedfellows in American history. The relationship resembles that of two lovers in a forbidden, secret affair in which one partner is abusive, and neither of them can say good-bye. The following is an account of the uneasy dynamics of homophobia in military men’s individual and team identities. It includes analysis of fucker and pansy antiheroes, historical factors leading to the imposition of official silence by military bureaucracy, unofficial folk speech with transgressive homoerotic humor, and outrageous folk performance-as-resistance videos in the face of perceived institutional oppression, including humorous resistance to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by Straight men as they stood up for their Gay brothers. It concludes by examining the videos that, since the second invasion of Iraq, have lampooned both Queers and official military paranoia concerning all things Queer, and thus tacitly show support for Gay personnel while simultaneously making fun of them.


IT’S COMPLICATED

Until 2011, homosexuality was officially deemed incompatible with military service. Nevertheless, the US military quietly bunked with closeted homosexuals right from the start. Sometimes the illicit relationship was unspoken but accommodating, especially when fighting men were in short supply. The first national drillmaster, Baron von Steuben, for example, was renowned for his military bearing, intelligence, discipline, humor, love for his

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