Cigarettes are out, gays are in

The U.S. Navy announces major changes to life aboard submarines

The U.S. Navy recently announced some major changes to life aboard its submarines. As of the end of 2011, sailors, who often spend months below the surface, will no longer be able to smoke. Women, who already serve throughout the rest of the navy, will be eligible to join “bubblehead” crews. And so will those who are openly gay or lesbian. But the scale of the proposed changes has elicited a backlash from many of the 13,000 men currently serving in the Silent Service, and their retired confrères. Among their fears: that many submarine “traditions” like man hugs, rear-end patting, and having crew who cross the equator for the first time strip to their underwear, might be lost. “Serving on board a submarine is not a place to be if you are self-conscious or have any doubts about your sexuality,” one wrote on his blog. “Silliness, male-bonding, and what might be considered inappropriate or ‘politically incorrect’ behavior in a civilian environment are all useful techniques that allow a sailor to endure the difficult living conditions and time away from their families and mainstream life.”

Washington Post

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