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Coming Out Under Fire. The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II. Twentieth Anniversary Edition. By Allan Bérubé. With a new foreword by John. Coming Out Under Fire has ratings and 48 reviews. As Allan Berube writes at the close of this book, “the generation of gay men and women who served in. Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II. Allan Bérubé . Coming home with a stronger sense of themselves as gay.

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Some older soldiers with more sexual experience in the military taught younger men how to have sex without getting caught. Account Options Sign in. Among the many histories of fighting men and women in World War II, little has been written about the thousands of homosexuals who found themselves fighting two wars–one for their country, the other for their own survival as targets of a military policy that sought their discharge as “undesirables.

Loeser at the 36th station hospital in Devonshire, UK.

Some were abused, or forced to provide blow jobs to their supposedly heterosexual guards. The contribution gay men and women have made throughout history is too often ignored or sidelined as a niche category of historical studies.

There is great breadth covered from the role of psychiatrists, military leaders, the experiences of gays and lesbians in the US military, repression as well as acceptance that does not seem to have too much uniformity during the war.

Nov 04, Steven rated it it was ok. The witch hunts, I had heard about.

Relying on their own secret culture of slang, body language, and “camp” to find each other and build spontaneous communities, they learned, both on and off the battlefield, to be proud of their contribution and of who they were.

I was recommended this book during a presentation of some research of mine at a Phi Alpha Theta history conference inand I am so glad that I finally did.


I had no idea there were gays in WWII, let alone a full culture. Particularly moving were the heart-wrenching accounts of soldiers who watched their lovers die in combat, and the surprising compassion and support they received in their grief from their fellow G.

The gamut of experience is laid out here, from the difficulty gay soldiers sometimes had just getting This is a compelling and readable book resulting cire an important project, one of uner we can be grateful were completed while the veterans were still alive to give first-hand accounts. Homosexuality was deemed incompatible with military service – the old stereotypes of gay men as effeminate, weak, flighty, hysterical, physically incapable doing their part to reinforce this belief.

Some would criticise this, but I liked it because it demonstrated to me how much this book me I’ve been researching a historical fiction novel about queer men and women in WWII for some time now, and from the preface, I knew this is the book I was looking for.

Felt more like a text book. A Gay Refuge pp.

Coming Out Under Fire – Allan Berube – Google Books

The Gay Life and Vice Control pp. At times, while reading, I felt his voice peeking through the writing, above the academic rigour, above the research allna make a point alla his own.

A minority of these psychiatrists did not feel that homosexuality affected battlefield performance. Caught during their processing for discharge in battles between friendly and hostile officers, they found themselves thrown around like footballs in a game over unrer they had no control.

Lists with This Book. It is full of spirit. Sign In Forgot password? This folklore provided them with romantic historical images that could help allay self-doubts before their first combat missions. Published April 1st by Free Press first published Nor were things to improve when they were returned home to civilian life.

Indeed, I was moved from profound sadness to outright rage when I learned the systematic persecution that these innocent men and women had to endure in the service of their country.


Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two

Coming Out Under Fire. However, you will have to read this most remarkable book to learn the outcome of this. The stories from those who served, interviewed by the author, were told brilliantly to keep the story moving but still bring us the personal anecdotes. Some were lucky enough or valuable enough to the military in wartime to be deemed ‘reclaimable’ and were absorbed back into the military, often after a period of incarceration or hospitalization.

Different soldiers received vastly different treatment, depending upon where they were big administrative posts tended to be harsher toward gay soldiers than deployed units in active combat, where tightly-bonded groups depended upon tolerance for survivalwhich psychiatrists examined them, who their commanding officers were, and other vagaries.

Coming Out Under Fire – Wikipedia

This is partly because the vast majority of soldiers were men; millions of American men served in the war and only a couple hundred thousand women. Seeing a chance to advance their prestige, influence, and legitimacy of their profession, psychiatrists promoted screening as a means of reducing psychiatric casualties before they became military responsibilities.

They also received pleas for tolerance from the war propaganda which portrayed American soldiers as defending the ideals of democracy, equality, and freedom against the totalitarian Axis. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, however, the rules were relaxed to accommodate the demands of war, and the military was forced to accept and integrate most gay alan. I would have enjoyed hearing even more of this oral history.