Gays in the Military

The military is a primary site for the social construction of ideas about gender and sexuality in the United States. The presence of gays in the military became a highly controversial issue in the late twentieth century, sparking a national public debate about the meaning of manhood because it represents a direct challenge to the traditional notion of the military as a strictly heterosexual institution designed to train young men in hegemonic masculinity. Supporters of the ban on gays in the military fear that their presence will contribute to a breakdown in morale and authority, which would lead to inefficient military performance.

During the late twentieth century, in the aftermath of the Sexual Revolution and the gay rights and liberation movements, American society increasingly recognized a ...

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