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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Although I am opposed to all war, I believe that if we’re still going to keep having them, all people gay, straight, male or female should be allowed to fight in them. For gays and lesbians this is just such a good, enlightening and yes, empowering story. In Coming Out Under FireAllan Berube examines in depth and detail these social and political confrontation–not as a story of how the military victimized homosexuals, but as a story of how a dynamic power relationship developed between gay citizens and their government, transforming them both.

Psychiatrists Discover the Gay GI,” he describes the research undertaken by military psychiatrists to better diagnose homosexuality in men. You read the text and are constantly reminded that someone, many people lived this experience.

I liked how many interviews and letters the autho It would be interesting to read equivalent books for other countries during the same period, as this only covered the USA, but it did seem to cover it very well. However, you will have to read this most remarkable book to learn the outcome of this. Some older soldiers with more sexual experience in the military taught younger men how to have sex without getting caught. This is the key text for homosexual experience in WWII and it remains so.

Soldiers that were discovered to be gay or lesbian were harassed and dishonorably discharged despite months or years of faithful service. He allowed us to enter this fascinating and previously little known secret world, a mere few years in history that had profound impact on gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender individuals for decades after the war that created ripples which can be still felt today.

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 roles, 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.

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. Until the last chapter, I didn’t realise that this book was twenty five years old, and was probably something of a polemic against oppression in the armed forces.


It was broadcasted on PBS some years ago, and.

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

Slavery after Rome, — This article is also available for rental berub DeepDyve. In that, it did an admirable job, and I understand the difficulty the author faced in even collecting all this information. The books takes firr through before the draft, dealing with the doctors, military life, to dishonorable discharges and after the war with interview, military briefings, court cases.

Top officials at the Veterans Administration were responsible for this denial, contrary to Army policy comung Congress, but nonetheless the VA refused to drop its anti-homosexual prohibition.

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.

I will, as always in books like this, point out that though Berube pays lip service to bisexual and transgender people in the text, their actual appearances are minimal at best which is to say that some of the folks interviewed or talked about might have identified as bisexual, though Berube is not explicit in identifying any, and, in the case of transgender people in particular, vire wholly absent which is really interesting, given the rich history of particularly transgender people serving in the military.

There was also the question beurbe what sort of discharge would apply—i. I kept waiting for his history to get up to DADT, but it stopped just shy of that. After the war, though, after a brief period of gratitude and tolerance in which many public voices decried discrimination against soldiers discharged for homosexuality and agitated to make them eligible for GI Bill benefits, the general cultural undr toward conformity and strict enforcement of gender roles swung the pendulum back and drove a new wave of discrimination which in turn furthered the development of the fledgling political movement for gay rights.

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 ‘sexual psychopath’.

He also searched for letters lost in attics; letters between lovers, friends, comrades. Quotes from Coming Out Under 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 roles, proving their 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.


The witch hunts, I had heard about. The war brought those men, and the women volunteers in female units, into close contact with members of their own sex under conditions of stress, fear and isolation from home.

There was often a gay subculture where men or women in the know could meet and interact. Contact Contact Us Help. At times, while reading, I felt his voice peeking through the writing, above the academic rigour, above the research to make a point all his own.

Berube did a great job of seeking out information from homosexuals and government documents. Selected pages Title Page. Sign In or Create an Account. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. And yet we persevered, says Berube, with an all-knowing wink the audience.

The controversy over blue discharges even led to public discussion that was not always unsympathetic to homosexuals. Freedman, this book remains a valuable contribution to the history of World War II, as well as to the ongoing debate regarding the role of gays in the U.

It is an extraordinary history hidden deep within official uunder and personal stories. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Project MUSE – Coming Out Under Fire

Breube really gave a whole new outlook to the study of WWII history and LGBT history although it really didn’t include much about bisexuals or transgenders.

Before cracking down on gays, it seems like they lived a relatively normal existence within the military, and it knder until they were stigmatized and forced to remain wholly within the closet beruube problems such as homophobia, stress and morale came into play. It is important that the service and sacrifices of these men and women be recognised – gay men fier women served their country with honour and distinction during World War II, proved themselves as soldiers, sailors and patriots, and were met in most cases with hostility, persecution, prejudice and injustice.

You could not be signed in. A show-stopping vignette tells of a confused staff meeting in which straight officers in the Pacific Theater have to grapple with “the goings-on under the coconut trees. Psychiatrists Discover the Gay GI pp. And they never knew when some zealot might accuse and expose them. Want to Read saving…. 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.

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

It is full of spirit. There were so many contradictions of thought regarding the prescence of gays and lesbians in the military, some were reviled, others were celebrated.

Well worth a read!

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