Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Natural Male Affection: Vintage Photo

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | February 24, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Gay Icons and History
Tags: gay romance, male affection, men embracing, men loving men, post-modern homophobia, vintage photo

One of the most disturbing aspects of post-modern homophobia is that it has placed so many restrictions on how men are supposed to interact. I love coming across photos from my parents' and grandparents' generations, when men could still openly express love and affection without everyone snickering, "Does that mean they are gay?"

Of course, I would like to think these fellows are gay, because they look so happy and sweet, and one hungers for simple romantic images in a world where media focus on exploitative ones. Whatever these happy fellows did at home, it's good to remember that once upon a time, men could unashamedly embrace other men in public, and important to work towards the day when they can do so again.

Vintage photo after the jump.


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I don't know if I am recalling things correctly, but, I thought I had read somewhere that as homosexuality becomes more open in a society, the level of demonstrative affection between men decreases. I'm uncertain if there is actual research to support this or if it is mere speculation. It does seem to make some sense: if same-sex affectionate activity is construed as possibly sexual or romantic, then many might avoid doing so. Of course, there's always the issue of homophobia, too. :)

Lots of same-sex hand-holding in Italy, middle east and Africa, so yes, but also lots of male affection in Scandinavian countries, at least more than in the US, so no.

Or maybe the Us is just weird.

gregorybrown | February 25, 2010 4:17 PM

MAYBE the US is just weird...? I don't think there's any question about that at all.

Ernie Caswell | February 25, 2010 3:19 AM

It's worth looking at a book called DEAR FRIENDS. Written by David Deitcher and published by Abrams in 2001

It may surprise many that Mormons were remarkably open to homosocial and homoerotic behaviors before the LDS began an extensive makeover of its sexual history in mid-20th century, aiming for mid-stream "respectability". This is documented in D. Michael Quinn's SAME SEX DYNAMICS AMONG 19TH CENTURY AMERICANS: A MORMON EXAMPLE. In addition to noting the existence of gay brothels in Zion, Quinn includes photos of high school athletes in the early 1950's, posed for team portraits with plenty of unselfconscious arms-over-shoulders and hand-holding. He notes that several high ranking church officials were remarkably open about their same-sex affections.