10 Great LGBT Military Movies 

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

September 23 2011 5:00 AM ET

ALIENS (COURTESY) ADVOCATE.COMPlatoon
(1986) Gay
 

Whole dissertations have been written about
why Platoon is a gay film, or at the
very least, so rife with homoerotic subtext that you’d have to be Fred Phelps
to miss it. And it has little to do with the fact that there are barely any
female roles in the movie. Christina Judith Hein’s Battleground
Masculinity: Gendertroublers and Gatekeepers in Oliver Stone's Platoon
is among the best to explain its
gayness; read her if you doubt me. In the film, Charlie Sheen is Army private
who volunteers for combat during the height of Vietnam in part because he’s an
idealist. He soldiers through bullying and atrocities and along the way is torn
between two camps of men — one hyper masculinized, the other more modern, and
thus, more feminized men. The latter camp, led by Willem Defoe as Sgt. Elias,
full of smoking and dancing and half-naked men, feels queer and uninhibited. As
Hein points out, “ Rather untypical of a courageous and
responsible authority figure in a war movie, [Elias] acknowledges Chris's
presence by waving at him, languidly reclined in a hammock, only half-clad, and
sensually eating a banana. The ceremony of initiation that he performs later on
with newly recruited Chris involves not only the passing of marihuana smoke
through the phallic barrel of a gun but is also accompanied by a conspiratorial
look and smile on the side of Elias and a somewhat curious yet disconcerted
gaze by Chris – as though he were checking if anyone might watch and disapprove
of this erotically charged moment. With its homoerotic overtones, the scene is
strikingly reminiscent of the sexually coded passing of smoke through a straw
in Jean Genet's gay prison art film, Un Chant d'Amour (1950), and it dissolves into a scene
of soldiers relaxedly dancing with each other.” The movie is riveting and
challenging and imbued with a sense of what homo-awakening might have been like
for some men during the ‘60s sexual liberation.

Tags: film

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