Going to the ‘Men's School'? Non-Heterosexual and Trans Youth Choosing Military Service in Finland

Citation:

Lehtonen, Jukka. 2015. "Going to the ‘Men's School'? Non-Heterosexual and Trans Youth Choosing Military Service in Finland." NORMA 10 (2): 117-35. doi:10.1080/18902138.2015.1050861.

Author: Jukka Lehtonen

Abstract:

Military service is obligatory for those who are legally men in Finland, and the majority of men do their service, although there is the possibility for women to apply for voluntary military service. In this article I analyse the experiences and stories of non-heterosexual men, non-heterosexual women, transfeminine and transmasculine respondents in relation to their military service. My data are from a survey with 1861 responses from trans and non-heterosexual people under 30 years of age. I analyse what kind of significance they give to gender and sexuality in their perceptions of military service. Military service is often seen in their stories as a ‘men’s school’ from which they distance themselves or which they see as a way to prove their masculinity. The four respondent groups reacted differently towards military service in many respects. Their reasons given for deciding to avoid military service included pacifist concerns on the part of some, but concerns relating to gender and sexuality were far more frequent in decisions to avoid military service. The army was often seen as best suited for heterosexual man, and military culture was seen as sexist and homophobic.

Keywords: masculinity, Transgender, non-heterosexual, heteronormativity, military service

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Finland

Year: 2015

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