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The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II

            "Gays! Lesbians! YOU can join my military, receive benefits AND love the same sex!" Although homosexuality is still taboo, this is what homosexuals in the military get to feel today from "Uncle Sam". Allan Bérubé explains that, before 1940, there was no concern to screen for sexual orientation for men in military services. This changed when around 16 million men registered for the draft in October 1940 since the Selective Service officials were now able to have strict qualification standards and were able to exclude homosexuals from serving. Before this, it was only the act of sodomy that condemned soldiers or officers to prison. Even with these new policies in place, the patriotic need for gay men and women to serve their country was strong enough for them to risk being ridiculed or rejected by the military and society and they lied and hid their homosexuality in order to serve. Most gay men tried to imitate the manliest man in their unit in order to avoid being called a "queer" or "sissy" and get bullied. .
             "GI Drag", is about entertainment shows and musicals where soldiers were allowed to be in drag and perform as female characters. The shows helped soldiers maintain a high moral. Even though not all drag performers were gay, there was controversy that these shows were seen as the armed forces condoning homosexuality and effeminacy. Gay men and women service members enjoyed the gay lifestyle and nightlife but this was seen as a vice so Military Police (MPs) would go to gay nightspots to make sure the GI's did not engage in homosexual conduct. Instead of homosexuals in the military being convicted for their sexuality, with the discharge system, military members were instead forced to go to hospital psychiatric wards due to homosexuality being seen as a mental illness. Homosexuals showed themselves to be worthy "comrades-in-arms" (200) and fought the stereotypes that made them seem "sissy like" and not strong enough to fight in the front lines against Hitler.

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