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Assessing the Korean Military's Gay Sex Ban in the International Context


Lee, Alvin. 2010. "Assessing the Korean Military's Gay Sex Ban in the International Context." Law & Sexuality: A Review of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Legal Issues 19: 67-94.

Author: Alvin Lee

Topics: Gender, Men, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2010

Unit Social Cohesion in the Israeli Military as a Case Study of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


Kaplan, Danny, and Amir Rosenmann. 2012. “Unit Social Cohesion in the Israeli Military as a Case Study of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.” Political Psychology 33 (4): 419-36. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2012.00914.x.

Authors: Danny Kaplan, Amir Rosenmann


U.S. military policy “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) restricted integration of gays in the U.S. military based on the premise that knowledge of gay peers would decrease interpersonal bonds among unit members. Despite the heated debate over DADT, this social cohesion thesis, reflecting the tensions of homosocial desire, has not been tested empirically. The Israeli military provides an operative case-study for this thesis, given its nonexclusionary policy and intensive combat experience. Measures of perceived social cohesion and knowledge of gay peers were obtained from a sample of 417 combat and noncombat male soldiers using an inventory of interpersonal emotions towards unit members. A MANOVA of social cohesion by knowledge of gay peers and combat/ noncombat unit yielded the hypothesized increase in cohesion in combat versus noncombat units. Yet contrary to the DADT premise, knowledge of gay peers did not yield decreased social cohesion. Comparisons with the U.S. military are presented, suggesting in both cases a loose coupling between stated policies and soldiers’ experience on the ground. Implications of these findings for the reassessment of DADT and its repeal are discussed.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2012

Contemporary Greek Male Homosexualities: Greek Gay Men's Experiences of the Family, the Military and the LGBT Movement


Dendrinos, Panayis. 2008. "Contemporary Greek Male Homosexualities: Greek Gay Men's Experiences of the Family, the Military and the LGBT Movement." PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Author: Panayis Dendrinos


This thesis provides an ethnographic analysis of how Greek gay men experience the ways in which their sexuality is subject to ‘negotiation’ in the family and the military, how these ‘negotiations’ influence and sometimes even inhibit the creation of an LGBT movement. The experiences of my ethnographic informants produced little material for generalisations but the diversity of their voices suggests that they are constantly fighting between the desire to belong and the wish to remain different. I argue that the theoretical framework of timi and dropi (honour and shame) can still be a valuable explanatory tool for an understanding of Modern Greek homosexualities. Yet, this thesis offers a critique of this paradigm for its neglect to account for the possible ways in which the sexual contact of the men in a family may occasionally be seen as a threat to the family’s honour. As a result, silence becomes a defence mechanism that many of my gay interlocutors and their families employ to deal with homosexuality. This varied silence often inhibits the sense of pride in the man’s homosexuality and in turn prevents him from joining the movement that would require him to be vocal about his sexual self. The military experiences of my interlocutors, on the other hand, challenge the assumption that the military is a strictly heterosexual space. What they often describe as the ‘homo-social’ environment of the military acted as a catalyst for several of them to come to terms with their homosexuality. The thesis also explores the history of Greek LGBT activism from its inception in 1976 to today and examines the reasons behind its limited success in capturing the hearts and minds of my interlocutors.

Topics: Gender, Men, Households, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Greece

Year: 2008

Patriarchal Confusion? Making Sense of Gay and Lesbian Military Identity


Bulmer, Sarah. 2013. "Patriarchal Confusion? Making Sense of Gay and Lesbian Military Identity." International Feminist Journal of Politics 15 (2): 137-156. doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.746565.

Author: Sarah Bulmer


In this article I investigate the possible uses of Cynthia Enloe's idea of ‘patriarchal confusion’ in understanding gay and lesbian military identity. Through an analysis of military discourses surrounding the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the British military since 2000, and using original interview data with serving personnel, I examine the contradictory ways in which queer identity has been incorporated within a military dominated by heteronormative masculinity. By examining conflicting attitudes towards gay and lesbian soldiers' participation in Pride marches, I show how patriarchal understandings of military identity become ‘confused’ by both heterosexual and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender personnel. I argue for a move away from viewing the integration of non-traditional recruits through the dichotomous lens of subversion or co-option, and instead call for an engagement with the ambiguities and confusions that arise from that integration. Reading this confusion through Butler's concept of performativity, I demonstrate how even confused ideas about gender can reproduce patriarchy, and why patriarchy often simultaneously fails to reproduce itself. A performative reading of ‘patriarchal confusion’ therefore indicates the radically contingent character of the reproduction of patriarchal norms in the military and suggests that sites of confusion might be fertile grounds for feminist interventions.

Keywords: military, homosexuality, LGBT, military masculinities, patriarchy

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality

Year: 2013

Homosexuality and the Israel Defense Forces: Did Lifting the Gay Ban Undermine Military Performance?


Belkin, Aaron, and Melissa Levitt. 2001. "Homosexuality and the Israel Defense Forces: Did Lifting the Gay Ban Undermine Military Performance?" Armed Forces & Society 27 (4): 541-65.

Authors: Aaron Belkin, Melissa Levitt


In this article we argue that Israel's 1993 decision to lift its gay ban did not influence military performance. Then we assess three arguments raised by experts who claim that Israeli experiences are not relevant for determining what would happen if the U.S. Congress and Pentagon lifted the American gay ban. In particular, we assess the arguments that most gay Israeli combat soldiers do not disclose their sexuality to peers, that some receive special treatment, and that cultural differences distinguish the U.S. and Israeli cases. We agree with each argument, but our interpretation of them differs from experts who believe that Israeli military experiences are irrelevant. While no single case study can show decisively what would happen if the U.S. changed its policy, we suggest that the Israeli experience lends some weight to the claim that American military effectiveness would not decline if known homosexuals were allowed to serve.

Keywords: Israel, homosexuality, sexuality, military

Topics: LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2001

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


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


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

Women’s Responses to State Violence in the Niger Delta


Ekine, Sokari. 2008. “Women’s Responses to State Violence in the Niger Delta.” Feminist Africa 10: 67–83.

Author: Sokari Ekine


This paper will discuss the ways in which the women of the Niger Delta have responded to acts of violence by the Nigerian State and its allies, the multinational oil companies. I first briefly outline the background to the crises in the Niger Delta and then discuss the responses and resistance of the women.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Corruption, Democracy / Democratization, Development, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Multi-national Corporations, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2008

Twentieth Century Theories on Combat Motivation and Breakdown


Wessley, Simon. 2006. “Twentieth Century Theories on Combat Motivation and Breakdown.” Journal of Contemporary History 41 (2): 269-286. 

Author: Simon Wessley


All the combatant nations of the first world war struggled to deal with the problem of large-scale casualties that could not be ascribed to simple physical injury. After a brief flirtation with medical explanations (‘shell-shock’) these were soon realized to be psychological in nature, but not until the end of the war was there much consensus on whether these represented a psychological response to the stressors of industrial warfare, or alternatively a failure of motivation or even masculinity. Simultaneously combat motivation was seen within a moral framework that emphasized duty, patriotism, leadership and character. It was these latter virtues, or lack of them, that gradually came to explain combat breakdown, and not the psychological theories, even if modern narratives tend to overlook this. If a person had sufficient character, leadership and training, breakdown was unlikely even under the harshest conditions. By the end of the second world war, new thinking and research, mainly from the American forces, now downplayed the importance of ideological and personal factors, and instead concluded that the most powerful motivation for combat (as opposed to enlistment) came from the role of the small group — ‘men fight for their buddies’. Breakdown was still seen as the reserve side of combat motivation, most likely when the small group disintegrated, although ultimately even the most robust could succumb after prolonged combat exposure. However, provided that the individual was previously of normal personality, this would be short lived. Long-term illness was still almost entirely attributed to vulnerabilities acquired by inheritance or during childhood. Combat breakdown could also be made chronic by the influence of secondary gain, and so medical labels for combat breakdown were avoided, treatment was by reassurance and return to duty, and compensation was discouraged where possible. It was not until the aftermath of the Vietnam war that views on combat motivation and breakdown began to diverge. As a result of the efforts of American psychiatrists opposed to the Vietnam war a new medical label, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was introduced in 1980. It was now believed that not just transient, but also chronic, mental disorders could be caused by combat, even in those previously of robust disposition, and that the necessity for a diagnosis and compensation overcame concerns about illness reinforcement and secondary gain. Social explanations for breakdown based on group psychology largely disappeared, to be replaced by a framework based almost entirely on individual responses to trauma, although the role of predisposition quickly needed to be rediscovered. In contrast, the military continue to insist on the importance of small group psychology in explaining motivation to fight, and are distrustful of either ideological or individual explanatory models.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Post-Conflict

Year: 2006

Proving Themselves: The Status of LGBQ Officers


Miller, Susan L. and Terry G. Lilley. 2014. “Proving Themselves: The Status of LGBQ Police Officers.” Sociology Compass 8 (4): 373-383. 

Authors: Susan L. Miller, Terry G. Lilley


The policing occupation, a bastion of hegemonic masculinity, is well known for its historical resistance to “difference,” whether among its own members or in society at large. Nowhere does this clash manifest as strongly as when LGBQ police officers join the force. LGBQ individuals have made great strides in breaking down some beliefs of the traditional and rigid police occupational culture. Still, more progress remains to be made toward dismantling the barriers of heterosexism and sexism that often permeate policing. This article explores the history of these barriers, the progress made, and the structural and individual level obstacles that remain. Policy recommendations and suggestions for future research are also made.

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Governance, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexuality

Year: 2014

'Cowboy' Policing versus 'the Softer Stuff;' Masculinities and Policekeeping


Bevan, Marianne and Megan H. MacKenzie. 2012. "'Cowboy' Policing versus 'the Softer Stuff;' Masculinities and Policekeeping." International Feminist Journal of Politics 14 (4): 508-528.

Authors: Marianne Bevan, Megan H. MacKenzie


This article examines masculinities in relation to the New Zealand police force Community Policing Pilot Program in Timor-Leste (East Timor). We find that despite calls for less militarized, more community-centered approaches to security sector reform, various forms of militarized masculinities persisted within the culture of the New Zealand Police during its international mission. In doing so, we not only complicate singular representations of militarized masculinity, but also challenge accounts that see masculinity as a monolithic negative, violent construct that is engaged with in only problematic ways.

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security Sector Reform, Violence Regions: Oceania Countries: New Zealand, Timor-Leste

Year: 2012


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