Dancing at Astraptes Dav id Eins ia l Man and Man at A&M By Greg Moses College Station . Since the emergence of the gay pride movement about in 1970, the straight community has been forced into some serious thought about the meaning and value of homosexuality. Sometimes the discussions are absurdly solemn, as if the subject were high tragedy. If you are one to feel ashamed about an occasional laugh during serious discussions of homosexuality, guard your reactions for a moment: this is a story about gays at Aggieland. Although this reporter would no sooner make jokes about gays than he would about Aggies, he would like you to agree that their life together can be, well, quite interesting. Aggies always have enjoyed good company and drink, and for a while, beginning with the football euphoria of the Bellard years and continuing through late 1980, one of the best places to find both was the Sports Club in University Square \(near the intersection of College Avenue and University Drive in College straighter, more macho hang-out. Or one more imbued with male glorification. In its heyday, a patron of the Sports Club could watch the faces of handsome young football players as they were flashed onto the wall in rapid order by the house slide projector; and one could watch the 16 millimeter movies of those handsome young men in uniform rushing up to each other as quickly as their young legs would carry them. Fre quently in these films one would see the young men rubbing bellies as they pushed against each other. They would grope for each other and pile upon each other in heaps on the grass. For these actions, the athletes were lionized. Any armchair quarterback would give up a month of six-packs for his boy to follow a career like that. But if you take the protective equipment off those boys, well then, you have something that most people around these parts would call obscene. This sort of ritual isn’t limited to bars, of course. Sports, and spectators, serve up a super-male aura that comes very close to what you might call contradictory if you didn’t value your teeth. An example: on a recent week night, the Aggies hosted a home basketball game at G. Rollie White Coliseum. If you weren’t watching the action on the floor, you’d have witnessed some fascinating behavior in the stands. Whole rows of young men put their arms around each other and swayed to the beat of the allmale band as the male yell-leaders, dressed tightly in white, presented some very butch leadership for the whole affair. Then there is the way that all the young men bend over and “squeeze when the team gets into a jam . .. but enough of this. If you went to school in the Southwest Conference you know what it looks like. Reports on the status of gay life at Texas A&M have placed the gays in direct opposition to the kind of burrheaded neo-fascism that is too easily found among the student troopers of the Aggie Corps of Cadets. Media interest was sparked by the U’ S. Supreme court ruling last December that A&M gays may sue the university for monetary damages in connection with their fight for university recognition. That ruling not only drew attention to the gay movement here, it stimulated considerable talk which proclaimed that the uniformed man in starch is anathema to homosexuality. Of course, this isn’t quite the case. For nearly a century, Texas A&M was a boys’ school where more than a few mixed-up high school graduates came to Greg Moses is a contributing editor of The Texas Observer. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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