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Poll

Were They Gay?

Yes
456 (65%)
No
30 (4.3%)
Jack was, Ennis wasn't
118 (16.8%)
They were bi
97 (13.8%)

Total Members Voted: 655

Author Topic: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)  (Read 891038 times)

Offline Ranchgal

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2005, 11:15:12 PM »
OMG----LOL!!!!
What do you suppose my custom combiners will say when I mention something like that when I go to pay my bill from this fall???? ;D :o :o ;D


They bring 4 Versatile combines, a grain cart and 2 semis when they come to combine soybeans.LOL
But I bet they won't laugh!!!
« Last Edit: December 25, 2005, 11:17:17 PM by Ranchgal »

Offline PetterG

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2005, 02:03:08 AM »
I don't think they ever would have used the 'label' GAY for themselves - as I read somewhere (I think it was in an interview with Annie P): men who has trouble with their sexuality (like J & E) will not like this film.
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Offline WLAGuy

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2005, 02:52:20 AM »
Okay, this happens to be one of my little hot buttons (as if I needed another one).  Gay men do not marry women and repeatedly have sex with them.  Period.  If a man is attracted enough to women in the first place to marry a woman and repeatedly have sex with her, but is also physically attracted to other men, that man is not gay, but bisexual. 

I cannot emphasize this next point enough -- by insisting that men like Jack and Ennis are really gay, even though they marry women and father children, we are denying the sexual identity of an enormous community of men (one that rivals, if not surpasses, the number of straight men, and absolutely dwarfs the gay community in size).  We are, in effect, saying to those men -- "You do not exist."  I cannot begin to describe how unfair this is -- in fact, I cannot even think of an appropriate analogy in history, but I do know that we have to stop doing this.  It is unfair to them, and it is unfair to us.

I have seen this over and over again in the gay community -- a man can sleep with women throughout his entire life, get married more than once, have any number of children, but let that man have sex with another man just once, and he is instantly labeled as "gay."  (For some reason, it never works the other way.  You never hear people say about a man who has been attracted to other men his entire life, but who has sex with a woman one time, "Oh, he's really straight.")  I really think we in the gay community need to look very carefully at the reasons we do this, not only because we are wrong, but because we are sabotaging our relationship with a community of men who would otherwise be our greatest allies in our fight for equality.  For some reason we keep insisting that there is a vast gulf between gay men and straight men, but the truth of the matter is that there are degrees of separation between the two groups.  If one is black and the other white, then there are many shades of gray in between. 

Offline peteinportland

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2005, 05:10:42 AM »
Quote
Okay, this happens to be one of my little hot buttons (as if I needed another one).  Gay men do not marry women and repeatedly have sex with them.  Period.  If a man is attracted enough to women in the first place to marry a woman and repeatedly have sex with her, but is also physically attracted to other men, that man is not gay, but bisexual.

WLAG, I'm sorry but I do not agree at all. One of my great areas of interest is the spectrum of human sexuality and especially the labels of straight, bi and gay that we use in our society and how men choose to apply them to themselves and to one another (IMO, females have a totally different outlook in how these labels are applied to themselves).  I DO agree that bisexual men exist and in decent numbers; however, I don't think one's sexual acts always define one's true sexuality or even one's preference in sexual partners.

I think any number of men engage in sex and even "romantic" relationships with people to whom they have no real attraction. In this film, we are dealing with men in the rural American West who are employed in the most heterosexist, gender-specific occupations that existed in America then and now. They are also living in a culture that proscribes very rigid gender roles and very clear cut societal expectations in regards to gender. This still holds true in much of rural America today (especially in the West and the South) and in ethnic/immigrant communities.

There are any number of gay men TODAY who feel forced by society to live up to what society,culture, or family expects from them: get married, settle down, raise a family. Most live very unhappy lives because they are not being true to themselves. At some point, many come out as gay and start living their lives that way. Are they bisexual? No. They are gay men pretending to be something they are not. It is easy for them to have sex with a female and even love one, but for most, the sex is not appealing and the love is not much in the way of romantic love.

I also know many straight men that have had sex with guys and several that were in a pseudo-relationship with a guy (I used to specialize in these types, myself). However, they did not think of themselves as bi because they are only sexually attracted to women and because they cannot imagine a true romantic relationship with a guy. These folks are hard for most to understand, but they are the same as gay men who are married to women: they can preform the sex act and even have release, but it is not something they prefer; and they can love someone of the same gender but not really in a romantic way. Personally, I think it is very unfair to these straight and gay men to insist that they label themselves as something they are not (bisexual).

I do think true bisexual men exist. I think there are a lot more bi women than men, but I think society plays a large role in that. And, I think Jack Twist is truly gay. My take on what I see in the movie and from the clues we are given is that Jack is in a sexually and unfulfilling relationship with Laureen in order to wear the mask and to fit into society. He searches for other choices, but he doesn't have them. The man he loves will not commit to living a life with him. He marries into money, has a kid, and does the right thing to keep up appearances (and maybe for the sake of his son). But he craves sex with men, and the love of his life is a man. If Jack were to live with Ennis (or any guy for that matter), I don't think he would cheat with a woman--ever. He might cheat on him with another guy, but not a woman. I just don't think Jack is bi. I think he is gay.

I wish I knew about Ennis. The problem with Ennis is that he fell in love with Jack at 19 and probably was never "in love" with any other person in his life. I think he loved Alma the way one loves a close friend (or maybe for Ennis, a horse), but Jack was the one and only love of his life. Oddly enough, I don't think Ennis ever really had a choice to be "gay" or "straight."  Had he not fell in love with Jack, he may or may not have fallen in love with Alma or another woman, but I personally don't think he would have fell in love with (or even sexually looked at) another guy. I have to give Ennis to all the romantics out there and say that there was only one great love for him and that it happened to be in the soul and the form of Jack Twist. Jack was gay, and he could have fallen for another guy had Ennis ever gotten out of his way. The love Ennis had, and thus Ennis, defies labels.

My two cents...as always, my friend, it is nice exchanging views with you.


Offline mary

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2005, 09:33:15 AM »
Great point made by many - the term gay is something that has a particular meaning to us today - which brings me to the question I have:

I'm wondering if anyone can tell me when the word gay really came into the common vernacular with the meaning it has today.
I think I remember using the term in the early to mid  80's - but not before - but I don't know if that was just because before that I was young and clueless.
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Offline Ranchgal

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2005, 10:35:36 AM »
 Pete, I agree with a lot of that---but I still have a problem with you stating that Ennis only loved Alma, as a friend--that does not work for me!! The very fact that he was going to marry Alma first says different.
Ennis goes deep within himself---and for him to actually propose to Alma, and give her a ring--to me--HE LOVED HER as a husband, and a heterosexual lover---IF he only loved Alma like his horse(you know we have a term "stump broke mare" out here for that!!LOL) or a friend---he would NEVER have gotten far enough or deep enough to actually ask her to marry him officially. Just like the song--this is where the cowboy rides away--if he didn't love her in a romantic sense--he would have done just that-the marriage never would have become legal otherwise.
Like a lot of cowboys I know--he would have simply drifted in and out of her life, until she either wouldn't take him in anymore  OR she would have married someone else.  If they were just friends they never would have gotten far enough within their relationship to marry.
The fact that he actually committed to her enough to make it legal--says he loved her as much as he had ever loved anyone in his life---UNTIL HE MET AND FELL IN LOVE WITH JACK.

sorry the "friend" thing doesn't work for me in this story or context.

Mary--I can't answer that cause I haven't been in enough big cities often enough to know.
But to me, gay became a relevant term after seeing La Cage A Follies.   Been long enough ago that I don't even have a clue when I saw it, but after that I could use term 'gay' with in the context of this board/discussion.  Before that it was exclusively Homosexual.   But it will be interesting to read everyone's response.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2005, 10:46:02 AM by Ranchgal »

Offline PetterG

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2005, 10:45:22 AM »
but Ranchgal:
couldn't the marriage with Alma be a result of society? That he 'liked' her and was expected to marry her? They were engaged before the summer at Brokeback, so it was just to 'follow the line'. Today 'Ennis' would have finished their relation and (hopefully) lived together with Jack, but in there and then, it wasn't possible.
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Offline Ranchgal

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2005, 10:53:23 AM »
Well if they lived in a city I would say yes!  But where they were, there isn't enough society to worry about.
IF Ennis had a lot of family, mother pushing him, father talking grandkids---yes definately it would have been and does happen alot.
BUT Ennis did not have any family base for that kind of pressure to come from.
HE did not have school chums for peer pressure.
What he does with his life is his own choosing---he found Alma first, and fell in love, as much as he could.

When he met Jack, fell in love with him, he actually had feelings to compare to, and come off from--and when he fell for Jack, I will admit, I am sure the way he related to Alma within the relationship changed, but he hadn't given up on her, so they married, and as she found out it changed more. Leading to the downfall.

And I am also convinced that Ennis would never have left Alma--ever---if she wouldn't have divorced him, he would still be with her till one of them died.  Cause that part would be what society has dictated for them/him.   
so yes it plays a part--but not in the beginning--he found her by himself---and legally bound himself to her--so you can't tell me they were just friends.   Even though he did love Jack more in every way.
He didn't know the diffference---and I will agree with your concept---IF he would have found Jack first----there NEVER would have been an Alma.   
« Last Edit: December 26, 2005, 10:55:48 AM by Ranchgal »

Offline Melisande

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2005, 10:59:22 AM »
I'm with PetterG. I think Ennis was going along with societal expectations, which he had internalized, when he asked Alma to marry him.  He probably loved her as a friend, and thought that was love, never having experienced anything else.

I remember using the term gay in the mid-seventies. 
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Offline PetterG

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2005, 11:11:40 AM »
Ranchgal: I agree with a lot of ideas - but I thought the social 'pressure' was (and still is) harder in small towns and at the countryside.

"IF he would have found Jack first----there NEVER would have been an Alma."

interesting idea - but I don't think so, because the idea that he could live together with Jack wasn't realistic, according to Ennis, so I think he would marry a girl anyway (wasn't the affair with Cassie a try to do something like that?)
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Offline WLAGuy

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2005, 12:00:48 PM »
There are any number of gay men TODAY who feel forced by society to live up to what society,culture, or family expects from them: get married, settle down, raise a family. Most live very unhappy lives because they are not being true to themselves. At some point, many come out as gay and start living their lives that way. Are they bisexual? No. They are gay men pretending to be something they are not. It is easy for them to have sex with a female and even love one, but for most, the sex is not appealing and the love is not much in the way of romantic love.

I think we need to step back a bit and define some terms here, because it seems like we're each working with different definitions of the same word.  In fact, it may be that we're trying to make existing words do double duty, and really need to invent some new words.  When I use the word "bisexual," I mean someone who is physically attracted to both sexes, although in most cases not equally.  When I use the word "gay," I mean a man who is only physically attracted to other men, and who has never been physically attracted to the opposite sex.  I think most men would agree that if you're not physically attracted to the person you're with, it's pretty difficult, if not impossible, to perform.  Just as there are straight men whose stomachs do a loop-the-loop at the mere thought of sexual contact with another man, and could not possibly perform sexually, there are gay men whose stomachs do the exact same thing at the thought of sexual contact with a woman, and wouldn't be able to achieve an erection to save their lives.  We can call those our benchmarks.  Anyone who falls in between those two benchmarks, and by that I mean anyone who achieves some degree of physical enjoyment with both genders, is bisexual in terms of their physical attraction.

Emotional attraction, of course, is a horse of another color.  I think most men and women would agree that it is possible to physically perform with someone for whom there is absolutely no emotional attraction.  I think most men and women would also agree that it is possible to physically perform with someone for whom you feel some degree of affection, but not necessarily love.  Here's where it starts to get complicated.  (BTW, ladies, just so you don't feel left out, these same upcoming scenarios apply to you too.  Just switch the genders.)  

It is definitely possible for a man to be married to a woman for his entire life, successfully perform in bed with that woman, and feel affection and even love for that woman, yet still get physical pleasure from occasional sexual contact with other men.  I know men like this.  (Let's call them Type A.)  It is also possible for a man to have physical relations with women his entire life, successfully perform in bed with those women, and feel affection and even love for those women, yet also get physical and emotional pleasure from occasional sexual contact with other men.  (Let's call these men Type B.)  When we switch these definitions around, we get the man who has physical relations with men throughout his life, successfully performs in bed with those men, and feels affection and even love for those men, yet also gets physical pleasure from occasional sexual contact with women.  (We'll call them Type C.)  And finally, we have Type D -- the man who has physical relations with men throughout his life, successfully performs in bed with those men, and feels affection and even love for those men, yet also gets physical and emotional pleasure from occasional sexual contact with women.  Try as I might, I cannot fit these four groups of men into the definition of "straight" and "gay" I referred to earlier.  To some degree, each of these four groups has characteristics of both gay and straight men, but to insist that they are either gay or straight is to ignore the physical and emotional behavior that does not match those categories.

I also know many straight men that have had sex with guys and several that were in a pseudo-relationship with a guy (I used to specialize in these types, myself). However, they did not think of themselves as bi because they are only sexually attracted to women and because they cannot imagine a true romantic relationship with a guy. These folks are hard for most to understand, but they are the same as gay men who are married to women: they can preform the sex act and even have release, but it is not something they prefer; and they can love someone of the same gender but not really in a romantic way. Personally, I think it is very unfair to these straight and gay men to insist that they label themselves as something they are not (bisexual).

I have to admit you lost me on this one.  I don't understand how a man who has sex with men can say he is only sexually attracted to women, so I'm not even sure how to respond to this argument.  However, your last sentence is a perfect lead-in to the point I actually logged on to post this morning.  I think many men in the situations you describe (who fall into one of the four categories I described above) firmly believe there are only two possible orientations -- gay or straight.  I also think many of these men take one look at what is thought of by many as stereotypical "gay" behavior and think, "That's not who I am.  I don't act, talk or walk like that.  Therefore, if there are only two possible categories, and I know I don't fit into one, there is only one possibility left, which means I'm straight."  However, and here's the important part, when we as gay men insist that there are only two choices -- gay or straight, we are in effect insisting that men who otherwise would be our closest allies in our struggle for equal rights instead distance themselves from us and find no common ground at all.  The end result of this is that when things like gay rights or gay marriage appear on a ballot, these very same men, who otherwise would have a very good reason to support our cause, instead identify with the straight community and have far less reason to back us.  

A good analogy would be a white person with a black ancestor who can still pass as white.  If that person identifies with the white community, while he may sympathize with the black community's struggle for equal rights, he personally has nothing at stake in their struggle.  If that person is aware of his black heritage but the black community rejects him, insisting that he is really white, there is a good chance he will still feel no personal connection to their struggle for equality.  However, if that person is aware of his black heritage and is acknowledged by the black community as being related to them to some degree, their struggle will become more personal for him.  (Obviously this scenario assumes he has no difficulty acknowledging his black heritage.)

I spoke in my earlier post about denying someone's sexual identity, and after thinking about it some more, realized that gay men deal with the equivalent of this every day when people call the gay "lifestyle" a choice.  By insisting that homosexuality is a choice, rather than an immutable characteristic, those people are, in effect, denying gay men their sexual identity.  Every gay man alive knows how fundamentally unfair that denial is, which is exactly why we have to make sure we do not end up doing the same to others.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2005, 12:32:10 PM by WLAGuy »

Offline WLAGuy

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2005, 12:05:11 PM »

I'm wondering if anyone can tell me when the word gay really came into the common vernacular with the meaning it has today.
I think I remember using the term in the early to mid  80's - but not before - but I don't know if that was just because before that I was young and clueless.

Hi Mary,

I believe the term first came into use in the early 1900s as a code word for homosexual.  That's why you see the word used in a number of movies in the 1920s and 30s.  It was basically an insider's term, however, and I think it was probably not until the Stonewall riots in 1969 that the mainstream press finally started using the term.  I could be wrong, though -- any gay historians out there?

Offline Alex

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2005, 12:09:26 PM »
Here's an etymology of the modern usage of "GAY" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay.
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Offline lightsrays05

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2005, 03:40:10 PM »


I cannot emphasize this next point enough -- by insisting that men like Jack and Ennis are really gay, even though they marry women and father children, we are denying the sexual identity of an enormous community of men (one that rivals, if not surpasses, the number of straight men, and absolutely dwarfs the gay community in size).  We are, in effect, saying to those men -- "You do not exist."  I cannot begin to describe how unfair this is -- in fact, I cannot even think of an appropriate analogy in history, but I do know that we have to stop doing this.  It is unfair to them, and it is unfair to us.
Well, they might not have been gay! gay! gay! but their relationship IS gay!

To deny that their same-sex attraction has nothing to do with their gayness, then we are doing a disservice to them and us as well...

It IS a GAY love story.

Period.

(They didn't suffer for their wives that's for sure.)



Offline Carissa

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Re: Were they gay? (Jack & Ennis)
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2005, 03:58:26 PM »
On ''Charlie Rose,'' this is what Heath Ledger had to say: ''[Marrying] his wife was [Ennis] conforming to tradition. It was never a true love. [Ennis and Jack] is purely a story of two souls. Before Jack came into his life, I don't think [Ennis] ever conceived of being with another man or looked at another man. For that matter, I don't think he was attracted to women, either; maybe more so than Jack. ... Essentially, the story of Ennis is: He's a homophobic man in love with another man.''
I really like what Heath had to say here. 

I believe that if Ennis had never met Jack, he would've stayed married to Alma and lived a long life with her.  It is what he believed he should do and what society expected him to do.  But meeting Jack threw that proverbial wrench into the spokes of a bicycle tire.  It stirred something inside of him which he kept quiet.  IMO, meeting Jack ignited Ennis' pilot light from being an itty-bitty flame into a towering inferno. I think Ennis was gay but it was only Jack that could bring it out in him.  As for Jack, I believe he was gay.  I think that he got married because again, it was what he was supposed to do.         
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That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
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