By Allan Bérubé
In the course of global warfare II, because the usa referred to as on its voters to serve in unparalleled numbers, the presence of homosexual americans within the defense force more and more conflicted with the increasing antihomosexual rules and techniques of the army. In popping out less than fireplace, Allan Berube examines intensive and element those social and political confrontations--not as a narrative of ways the army victimized homosexuals, yet as a narrative of ways a dynamic energy courting built among homosexual voters and their executive, remodeling them either. Drawing on GIs' wartime letters, large interviews with homosexual veterans, and declassified army records, Berube; thoughtfully constructs a startling background of the 2 wars homosexual army women and men fought--one for the USA and one other as homosexuals in the military.Berube's publication, the foundation for the 1995 Peabody Award-winning documentary movie of a similar identify, has develop into a vintage because it used to be released in 1990, simply 3 years ahead of the arguable "don't ask, do not inform" coverage, which has persisted to function an uneasy compromise among gays and the army. With a brand new foreword via historians John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, this booklet is still a worthwhile contribution to the heritage of worldwide battle II, in addition to to the continued debate concerning the position of gays within the U.S. army.
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Extra info for Coming out under fire: the history of gay men and women in World War II
But the next phase—to organize similar nationwide psychiatric seminars for the thirty thousand volunteer local board physicians—was never implemented. 29 It was at this point that the expansion of the Selective Service System's psychiatric educational program reached a limit. For the rest of the war, national headquarters used only printed directives, including guidelines for identifying homosexual registrants, to instruct local draft boards how to screen men for military service. The honeymoon between psychiatry and the Selective Service during the first half of 1941 was short lived.
Those who were gay could make it easier for gay men to get into the service. Twenty-eight-yearold Bob Ruffing, a high school English teacher, joined the Navy right after Pearl Harbor was bombed and was examined at a Navy recruiting station on Long Island. At the end of his physical, Ruffing recalled, he "walked into this office and here was this man who was a screaming belle—lots of gold braid, but he was a queen if ever I saw one! " Many examiners neglected to ask the question at all, or asked it in a perfunctory way, because it embarrassed them or because they wanted to protect the young man from being stigmatized or had to meet their region's manpower quotas.
Because I truly did not know what 'homosexual' meant. We didn't call it that. " Occasionally, rather than lie, a gay man directly confronted an examiner who questioned him about his homosexuality. When Lester Ellis, a Hollywood actor who was examined after Selective Service started drafting older men, completed and passed his physical examination, he recalled, "I was sent upstairs to see the psychiatrist. He sat behind a big desk, talking on the phone. As I waited I saw he had a big piece of paper in front of him and glancing down I saw listed alphabetically many names of friends and colleagues of mine in the motion picture industry whom I knew to be homosexual.
Coming out under fire: the history of gay men and women in World War II by Allan Bérubé