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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These had been used successfully to eliminate social misfits—alcoholics, chronic liars, drug addicts, men who antagonised everyone—but technically did not include homosexuals.

The women were similarly treated, sometimes even more extremely reviled by their comrades in arms and their officers. I liked how many interviews and letters the author quoted. 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. Common terms and phrases American Journal antihomosexual policies berue forces Army’s barracks basic training Ben Small blue discharge buddies butch Camp Carmen Miranda chaplain cities civilian combat David Barrett Department U.

Psychiatrists Discover the Gay GI,” he describes the research undertaken by military psychiatrists to better diagnose homosexuality in men. In a vicious cycle of feedback, some of the gay men under arrest became more campy than they had ever been before, perhaps to show that they could not be broken or made less gay by the treatment.

As military’s psychiatrists sought to discover the gay personality type, new ways of dealing with gay servicemen included the “queer stockade” and “blue discharges” less than honorable discharge as well as rehabilitation for return to duty. With large same-sex groups living together, some homosexual behavior was condoned.

Project MUSE – Coming Out Under Fire

Related articles in Google Scholar. But at the same time, psychologists went after them for the first time, and the things they put them through were traumatic and awful–putting them in brigs that were really cages, displaying them for humiliation, turning them out of service for sexual psychopathy, which they then had to bring to their local draft boards, which made it difficult to find jobs after being kicked out, etc.


Although there were many people who were openly gay, and who were often ignored or tolerated by society as long as they kept their preferences discreet, it was a precarious existence.

Coming Out Under Fire: But if Alfred Kinsey’s wartime surveys were accurate and applied as much to the military as to the civilian population, at leastand as many as 1.

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. But many did not.

Rather, it was intended to punish homosexuals and prevent malingering, and requirement that the GI report to his draft board ensured that his community would find out the nature of his discharge. In the ‘s, sodomy was a criminal act in the United States. Another ‘must-read’, whether one is straight, or, gay. Meanwhile, Army and Navy officials struggled with how to manage the homosexual behaviour, and several approaches were developed.

I want ot start this off by first cooming the important work Berube did in this book; this book was definitely groundbreaking when it was published, and importantly, legitimized the service of gay and lesbian fjre of World War II. Gerry B’s Book Reviews – http: The fact that the military did not allow women in combat zones meant that those who entertained the troops returned to the age old convention of men playing the parts of women.

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

The introduction to Berube’s My Desire for History gives some context for his need to honor these veterans this way, but it still was difficult to grapple with as a reader who might have appreciated a little more nuanced look into the service of these individuals.

Or it might not. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. It was during World War II that the concept of the ‘homosexual’ as an individual, a sexual identity as opposed simply to a sexual act, first took root – and was enough on its own for that individual to be discharged from the service, deemed a al,an psychopath’.

However, it was almost too informational for my taste. Allan marriage is fiire in several US states – how sweet that is, coming from a position where being gay was considered insane and criminal? There are a lot of feelings and words that I don’t think I can easily articulate at this moment but I want to say a thank you to Mr Berube for helping to shed light on gay, lesbian and other members of the community that, while fighting the visible war of World War II in a variety of specialized combat and non combat zllan, proving their capability and ability just as well as their heterosexual comrades, they fought a personal war against the government, country, and institution they proudly served- that by and large sought to strip them of post war benefitsof their dignity, of their privacy, and of their fundamental right to live while being true to themselves.


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

Although I do have to say that I struggled to get through some of the chapters, mainly those focusing on psychiatric work or the law situation back then. American Historical Undrr members Sign in via society site.

DADT isn’t much of an improve What I found most fascinating about this book is how the military’s anti-gay policy was almost like a self fulfilling prophecy.

At times, while reading, I felt his voice peeking through the foming, above the academic rigour, above the research to make a point all his own.

Once trapped in the machinery of a sodomy charge, conditions could be brutal. Despite all this, many gay men and women served throughout the war with distinction.

Tragic consistency is mostly in the post-war period, as discharged veterans often beruve greater difficulties when in possession of “blue papers” that often explicitly indicated their sexual orientation. He finds that the experience of WWII was both that of increased surveillance Animating the book are many well chosen first-person accounts, including interviews with gay vets who survived the war.

Among the more interesting sections of this book is the one that deals with medicine’s treatment of homosexuality. In that, it did an admirable job, and I understand the difficulty the author faced in even collecting all this information.