Coming out under fire: the history of gay men and women in World War Two

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." To write this long overdue chapter of American history, Allan Bérubé spent ten years interviewing gay and lesbian veterans, unearthed hundreds of wartime letters between gay GIs, and obtained thousands of pages of newly declassified government documents. While some gay and lesbian soldiers collapsed under the fear of being arrested, interrogated, discharged, and publicly humiliated, many drew strength from deep wartime friendships. 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.--From publisher description.