And the Flag was Still There: Straight People, Gay People, and Sexuality in the U.S. Military

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Haworth Press, 1995 - Social Science - 262 pages
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In this groundbreaking book, author Lois Shawver substantiates a heretofore unexamined rationale--the “etiquette of disregard”--for lifting the ban against gays in the military. Why do we have a ban on gay people in the military? Primarily it is because most of the military brass and the politicians who support them predict enormous havoc if the ban were lifted. Yet studies show that little would change if the ban were lifted, and in And the Flag Was Still There, Shawver uses both anecdotal and systematic data to present her unique perspective that is of substantial interest not only to individuals interested in this military issue, but also to those in other occupations where gay people are discriminated against either by open policy or subtle historical trend.

This “etiquette of disregard” is an overlooked aspect of human sexual behavior where people who have the potential to find each other sexually attractive typically protect against this potential by simply remaining asexual. This behavior is readily apparent in other professions. Because doctors and nurses conform to this code of behavior or “etiquette of disregard,” they are able to examine the bodies of naked patients without melting into an uncomfortable lust. It is the same “etiquette of disregard” used by artists in the presence of nude models. And gay people, Shawver reminds us, are the most practiced of all in this etiquette because this is what allows them to go unnoticed to heterosexuals in public rest rooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms.

So are gays in the military any different? And the Flag Was Still There looks at the possibility of openly gay soldiers living and fighting in intimate situations--without incident. Readers curious about homosexuals--be they parents, spouses, or friends--will find much in this book to spark their thinking about the issue of gays in the military and their own perceptions of interactions with gay people in day-to-day life.

Author Lois Shawver has served as an expert in numerous trials dealing with the issue of bodily modesty in our culture--whether between men and women or between homosexuals and heterosexuals. All readers will enjoy her reasoned body of knowledge as it informs, educates, and entertains.

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About the author (1995)

Lois Shawver teaches psychotherapy and related courses to graduate psychology students at the California School of Professional Psychology in Alameda, California.

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