"Fifty per cent of the fleet have sinned homosexually at some time in their naval career," declared UK Admiral Sir Frank Roddam Twiss in 1968. (Cached)
We know that sailors are usually gay and lumberjacks are usually gay (YouTube - Monty Python's Lumberjack Song), but what about cowboys?
John Wayne represented the typical cowboy.
Film historian Kevin Brownwing, author of 'The Golden Grope - A History of Hollywood Harassment' writes about John Wayne's use of casting sessions to seduce young males. (The Sleaze Archive - Hollywood Sex Pests!)
"During the 1940s the outwardly conservative and heterosexual Wayne would regularly attend screen tests with director John Ford, in order to size up potential conquests. He'd get Ford to order the young hopefuls to take off their shirts and enact scenes which required them to lift heavy objects or bend over a lot."
Wayne's conquests allegedly included Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea and Montgomery Clift, 'with whom he had a torrid affair during the making of Red River in 1948'.
Eric Patterson (Point of View essay) has explained that: "Memoirs, photographs, and other evidence clearly show that actual cowboys lived on much more intimate terms with each other than many of the fans of the Cowboy today would find acceptable, bunking with each other, grooming each other, dancing together, and posing for photographers in remarkably affectionate ways."
Annie Proulx wrote Brokeback Mountain about gay cowboys. Proulx was partly inspired to write Brokeback Mountain by the comment of "one old sheep rancher, dead now, (who) used to say he always sent up two men to tend the sheep 'so's if they get lonesome they can poke each other." (Eric Patterson on Brokeback Mountain)
People who like cowboy films are usually people who like young male bodies in denim jeans.
There are homophobes who make fun of the idea of gay cowboys. Such homophobes are usually gay.
Eric Patterson writes that '"Personalities' like Don Imus and 'Michael Savage' (Michael Weiner) excoriated the movie as 'Fudgepack Mountain' and 'Bareback Mounting.' Though they claim to be horrified or disgusted by anal sex, their insistence on it in their reactions to Brokeback Mountain and indeed to man-loving men in general indicates that they seem to be unable to stop thinking about it, which suggests that it may be considerably more interesting to them than they want to admit."
In Brokeback Mountain, Heath Ledger performed as Ennis Del Mar, "a tortured loner who falls in love with fellow cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) despite his belief that homosexuality is wrong." ( 'Mountain' Man Ledger's Steady Climb to the Top)
Brokeback Mountain wasn't the first time Heath Ledger played a gay man. In 1996, he played the part of a gay cyclist in the Australian TV show Sweat.
On January 22, 2008, Heath Ledger was found dead in his fourth-floor apartment at 421 Broome Street in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City.