stewardess: (bob winnix got a light by mrbnatural)
[personal profile] stewardess
Title: Sailors and Sexual Identity: Crossing the Line Between "Straight" and "Gay" in the U.S. Navy
Author: Steven Zeeland
Publication Date: 1995

First: this book is hot. But I recommend it because it's one of the few books on gays in the military that explores how complex sexual identity is for everyone, not just gay and bisexual people.

Each chapter is a first-person recollection from a serviceman, some of whom identify as gay, some bisexual, some straight, some not sure. All have had same-sex sexual relationships.

Zeeland advances an interesting theory: that the military fears equality for gays not because they are worried about gays enlisting, but because it will force them to be open about the strong element of homo-eroticism in the armed forces. By denying that there are gays in the military, the military can keep its head in the sand. Zeeland points out that homo-eroticism has been a part of military bodies for thousands of years, with traditions that go back centuries. It's extremely interesting and thought-provoking. Oh, and hot. :)
stewardess: (bob winnix got a light by mrbnatural)
[personal profile] stewardess
Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star by Rich Merritt

After Merritt leaves the military, his life turns into a meth-fueled mess for a while, and it makes for depressing reading. But that's the last 10th of the book. Before that, this is a terrifically awesome tale of a gay man whose sexuality triumphs over monstrous repression. Not only was his family Southern and Christian, they were ultra-fundamentalists; Merritt attended the infamous Bob Jones University.

Joining the military finally takes Merritt out of the narrow world of Christian fundamentalism. His first sexual encounter with a man (a straight-identified fellow soldier) is smoking hot. This books is fucking great, even though the end is self-indulgent.

Merritt was in the service when Don't Ask, Don't Tell was enacted, and his description of the impact it had on both gays and straights in the service is invaluable.

Period of service: 1980s - 1990s. Branch: Marines. Rank: officer.

Note: Merritt's work of fiction, Code Of Conduct, was written when he was in his early twenties, and is unreadable, jam-packed with every badfic trope ever.

Major Conflict by Jeffrey McGowan

McGowan is a completely normal American male: patriotic, smart, brave, loyal -- and gay. Like Merritt, he is slow to become sexually active, and his self-repression results in misery. McGowan struggles with society's characterization of gay men as being "unmanly" and fights against the self-loathing the stereotype induces. He is brutally honest about his lack of self-acceptance, how he overcomes it, and his eventual anger with the military for forcing him to be a liar. This is a superb book in every way, extremely moving and a must read.

Period of service: 1980s-1990s. Branch: Army. Rank: officer.

Reviews: Books: Autobiographies

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