West Point Lesbian Culture Lesson 2: Is She or Isn’t She?
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West Point summers are reserved solely for military training, but the academic year is a combination of mandated military and scholarly events. Emailing is a perfect distraction during our evening study periods. Below is a snippet of my conversation with a male classmate, who offered insight to what my male counterparts were saying about me.
Cadet: Don’t be so mean to me! I’ll… I’ll… I’ll… I don’t know. Let your secret out to the company?
Me: That I’m a whore or that I’m a lesbian? Because female cadets only fall into one category or the other here. No exceptions, apparently.
Cadet: Facts matter little in a smear campaign. I’ll decide when it comes to that point.
Me: I’m not too worried. You have no proof on either.
Cadet: Well, since you said you were one of the two choices… and since almost every guy in the company has tried to hook up with you… and since rumors fly… and since I haven’t heard any wild hook up rumors about you... I think it can logically be deduced... Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me
Me: Are you accusing me of being a lesbian?!
Cadet: What?! When did I accuse you of anything?!!? Accuse and lesbian both have such derogatory connotations, I can’t believe you are implying either in reference to me….
Me: You’re patronizing me now.
Cadet: I’m trying to be your friend and you’re so rude to me! So why are you implying that being a lesbian is bad? Why is it something to be *accused* of??
Me: You see, things are a little different in the military.
Cadet: Well… ah… not for long? I still don’t see why people are scared of DADT. Lesbian baiting is so 90’s, anyway.
Me: You say these things as if I’ve admitted it to you!
Cadet: Not yet. It’s coming, though, I can feel it, haha.
Me: I’ll admit then, you have a well calibrated gaydar, my friend.
Cadet: You still have a lot of people wondering. I don’t know if they’re wondering or just wishing it wasn’t so, but you’re still a hot topic for debate.
Me: Really? Who is wondering about me? Not that it matters, but I’m curious.
Cadet: The normal people. I’m sure you can guess. Most of it is just a defense mechanism reaction to wanting a cadet girl, though. They know they’ll never have a chance with you, so they try to tell themselves that it’s because you must be a lesbian.
The “normal people” to whom my friend was referring was a classmate that lived down the hall from my barracks room. He would stop by my room with a Gatorade bottle to spit his dip juice into, talk about how much he benched pressed that day, and tell stories in an attempt to impress me with his testosterone-driven activities. Predictably, I was less than receptive.
But according to him, my sexuality must have been the only reason I didn’t fall head over heels. And the fact that his busted ego could have gotten me thrown out of the military (a term known as “lesbian baiting”) is a tad unfair. Thank you, DADT, for once again being a social policy failure.