The Relevancy of HomoEroticism

Homoerotic is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: “marked by, revealing or portraying homosexual desires.” It is important to note that the concept of homoeroticism does not necessarily lead to acts of homosexuality. There is a very fine line between homoeroticism and homosexuality. Homoeroticism and homosexuality existed as far back as the ancient civilizations of mankind. They were well documented through paintings, sculptures, and scriptures from Ancient China 650 BCE, Ancient Persia, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Greeks. Homoeroticism of the Ancient Greeks was introduced into mainstream media through shows as the television network STARS’ show Spartacus. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on the relevancy of homoeroticism as it is still as pertinent today as it was thousands of years ago.

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Many would argue that there are many different concepts to homoeroticism. I will argue that the two most important core concepts of homoeroticism are masculinity and the presence of a heterosexual man. Without these two core concepts, there won’t be such a thing as homoeroticism. My argument is further supported by JD Samson & MEN’s music video “Make Him Pay.” In this music video, the homosexual rhetoric is prevalent but it never crosses over to an act of homosexuality. There are images and scenes of bombs, explosion, soldiers, guns, fire, cops, mechanic, fighting, blood, muscle men, and contact sport; which is everything that is associated with masculinity. It is also important to note that although this music video is very homosexually suggestive, it never showed any men kissing or engaging in any forms of homosexual intimacies with each other.

The presence, no matter how little or how obvious, of a heterosexual man is needed for it to be homoerotic. As mentioned earlier, homoerotic is defined as “marked by, revealing or portraying homosexual desires” thus never mentioning anything about the actual sexual act of homosexuality. Contact sports, such as wrestling, are prime examples of the homoeroticism because it does not portray acts of homosexuality nor the pertinent sexual desire to be with that person of the same sex.

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The military is also a place where homoeroticism exists. The normative nature of the military is a very masculine environment that nurtures and bonds the camaraderie between men. That same nurturing and bonding might eventually lead to homoeroticism but NOT homosexuality. It is evident that the majority of men in the military are heterosexuals. As my time in the military, I can say that that same majority are the same ones expressing and involving themselves in more homoerotic situations than the actual gay men in the military themselves.

Homoeroticism existed for thousands of years and is still relevant in today’s culture and society. It is important that it is not to be confused with homosexuality because the two represent very different outcomes. In my opinion, the two core concepts that are important in homoeroticism are masculinity and the presence of a heterosexual figure. Homoeroticism will never disappear from society or human civilizations as it has lasted for over thousands of years. Though I do believe that the line between homoeroticism and homosexuality will eventually become thinner and thinner as we progress into the 21th Century.

 

 

Coming Out

Coming out can be one of the most challenging and scariest things anyone can go through but fortunately, the acceptance of gays and lesbians is quickly becoming more and more prevalent in mainstream media and today’s society. According to a Facebook research study, there was dramatic increase of people coming out on June 26th, 2015 after the United States Supreme Courts ruled favoring Marriage Equality. The increase was over 250%. Thats more people coming out on that day than on the National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2014. Although it is becoming easier for people to come out, there are still some people struggling with it. Sometimes, it may be easier to come out when someone else hears a “coming out” story that is similar to theirs.

“I am 20 years old and I’m gay. I know that if I come out, my family and many other people I grow up will disown me.  Watching other people come out makes me happy and gives me sense of hope.  Yet, at the same time, it hurts that I can’t bring myself to do the same” -Anonymous Facebook Post.

When I was reading the Merle Miller’s New York Times article, “What It Means To Be a Homosexual,” I instantly drew a connection to it. Merle Miller was a closeted gay man who came out later in his life. He was a soldier, editor at Harper’s and Time magazine and worked with other highly prestigious publishing companies, all while hiding his true identity as a gay man. Miller wrote about his struggles with hiding his homosexuality by masking himself with masculinity. “I was afraid I would never get into the Army…The psychiatrist asked how I felt about girls, before I really had the chance to answer, he said, ‘Next’ and I was being sworn in,” wrote Miller. “I continued to use my deepest voice…and kept my evening to myself.” This resonated with me and also reminded me of a “coming out” blog that I read a couple years earlier. The blog was written by professional soccer player Robbie Rogers.

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Robbie Rogers is currently the only active openly gay professional male soccer player in the world. He plays as a defender and left-back-winger for the Major League Soccer team the L.A Galaxy. He came out on February of 2013 in a blog he posted on his personal website. The blog illustrated his struggles with having to hide is true identity from his friends, family and soccer colleagues. After coming out on his blog, Robbie Rogers briefly retire from professional soccer to find himself away from the scrutiny of the world of professional soccer. He eventually return to professional soccer after receiving overwhelming support from the public and the world of professional sports.

“Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations.   Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret.  Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.” –Robbie Rogers (his blog can be found here: blog)

Robbie Rogers helped me to come out. I read his blog multiple times and I felt the same insecurities and struggles he went through. I feared the same thing that Robbie Rogers feared. I feared that this small portion of who I am would overshadow everything I did before and would continue to do so in the future. I only recently came out on my birthday earlier this month because I felt it was finally time for me to start living the life that I hid away from so many of my friends and family for so many years. Merle Miller’s article and Robbie Rogers’ blog made it easier for me to come out and I hope that this too will make other people’s decision to come out a little bit easier.

 

Burning Blue

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The romance movie,”Burning Blue”, written and directed by D. M. W. Greer tells the love story between three men serving in the United State Navy as fighter pilots. The controversial policy ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ implemented my President Bill Clinton catapulted massive waves of witch-hunts for the prosecution of gay service members. In total, over 14,000 highly qualified men and women service members were forced out of the military under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In this movie, it captured and illustrated the emotional, devastating and tragic consequences of the policy when it threaten to derail the careers of Dan Lynch, William Stephenson and Matt Blackburn who were all fighter pilots in the Navy. This entire movie is reminiscent of “Poem II”, from the Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems collection.

Dan Lynch is best friends with William Stephenson. They are both fighter pilots for the Navy. Dan and Will made a promise to one another to fulfill their childhood dreams of honorably serving in the Navy and transitioning to the prestigious Navy Test Pilot Program together. Although the movie did not show any obvious romance scene, there were subtle signs that Dan and Will might of had something more than a regular male friendship between them. Both men were dating women. Dan got engaged to a women. Will got married and eventually had a son. Their friendship was intensely homo-erotic.

Matt Blackburn came into Dan life when one of the other fighter pilots in their squadron died of a training accident aboard an aircraft carrier. The crash prompted an NCIS investigation into the crash. Matt was a handsome guy with a chiseled jaw line and the personality of an “alpha” male. He was also married. Dan and Matt eventually starting hanging around each other. They were spotted dancing together in a New York City gay night club while on liberty. Will soon distanced himself from Dan. The initial investigation of an airplane crash soon turned its an investigation into the personal lives of Dan, Will and Matt.

The movie perfectly illustrated the witch-hunt of gay service members under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Dan was stalked and photos were taken of him with Matt and Will at different occasions. The pictures were “suggestive” in nature but never were any concrete evidences that factually pointed to them to homosexual intercourse. Some of these photos were of Dan and Will drunkenly dancing with each other after a house party while Will’s wife briefly went upstairs. Another photo was recovered as evidence revealing five naked men, including Will and Dan, posing in a provocative nature. As explained by one of the men in the picture during an interrogation, that the picture was only an attempt to recreate a naked painting the men have seen at a museum. Can it be possible that being too close to another man, such as your best friend, be subject to violation of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?

The tangled triangle romance between Dan, Will and Matt was tested. All of the men showed no ‘stereotypical” physical indications of homosexuals. All of the men were in a straight relationship with other women. Dan got engaged. Will married and had a son. Matt was married. Unfortunately, these types of relationships are common in the military with gay men under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. The suppression of homosexual desires were often masked and disguised with relationship with women. Thrusting themselves deeper and deeper into the heterosexual culture. The military expected these men to be heterosexuals. The investigation led to the death of Matt. Dan eventually left the Navy and Will admitted that he loved Dan all along.

Two of the most profound moments in the movie were when Dan proclaimed his love for Matt by saying, “If we are careful, we can do this. We can.” and Will’s admission of love to Dan at the very last scene of the movie.

This movie is in direct relations to Adrienne Rich’s “Poem II”, the struggles of homosexuals everywhere to be accepted. Even though Rich’s poem was written in the context from a lesbian and women point of view, it is still as equally significant to male homosexuality point of view. A part of the poem I found that correlated well to this movie was “and I laugh and fall dreaming again, of the desire to show you to everyone I love, to move openly together”.