Were there gay cowboys in the old West? Undoubtedly. Do Western movies portray gay cowboys? Of course, the modern Western Brokeback Mountain (2005) addresses the subject directly. Recent critics have been going back to the classic Westerns, reevaluating the issues of masculinity that dominate these films and examining questions of “coding” homoerotic elements of the myth of the West. In literature of the past, gay men were often signaled as left-handed. Billy the Kidis nearly always portrayed as a left-handed gunfighter. Was Billy the Kid gay? In Cattle Queen of Montana (1954), Ronald Reagan’s character is a left-handed gunfighter. Was that simply a goof in the movie, given that the former president was actually left-handed?
   What about close male bonding? In Westerns the male attachment is often stronger than the male-female attachment. In Hop-Along Cassidy (1935), a very typical Western, why does Jimmy, who has been courting Mary during the whole movie, leave Mary behind and head off to Montana with Hopalong and the boys at the end of the movie? How do we interpret one of the greatest fight scenes in the history of Westerns, the one in Red River (1948) between Tom and Matt? Unlike most slugfests, this fight involves very close, intimate holding and groping that causes nearly every viewer to do a double take. Are these two close male rivals signaling to the audience their true homoerotic desires? Viewers and critics are very much concerned with this issue in the 21st century.
   See also FISTFIGHTS.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • homoeroticism — homoerotic ► ADJECTIVE ▪ concerning or arousing sexual desire centred on a person of the same sex. DERIVATIVES homoeroticism noun …   English terms dictionary

  • homoeroticism — noun a sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) persons of the same sex • Syn: ↑homosexuality, ↑homosexualism, ↑queerness, ↑gayness • Derivationally related forms: ↑gay (for: ↑gayness), ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • homoeroticism — noun see homoerotic …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • homoeroticism — homoerotic /hoh moh i rot ik/, adj. /hoh moh i rot euh siz euhm/, n. a tendency to be sexually aroused by a member of the same sex. Also, homoerotism /hoh moh er euh tiz euhm/. [1915 20; HOMO + EROTICISM] * * * …   Universalium

  • homoeroticism — noun The state or quality of being homoerotic …   Wiktionary

  • homoeroticism — ho·mo·erot·i·cism (ho″mo ə rotґĭ siz əm) 1. sexual feeling directed toward a person of the same sex. 2. a stage in the development of object relationships characterized by suppression of libidinal energies and occurring… …   Medical dictionary

  • homoeroticism — n. homosexuality, sexual attraction between members of the same sex …   English contemporary dictionary

  • homoeroticism — homo·eroticism …   English syllables

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