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My Desire for HistoryEssays in Gay, Community, and Labor History$
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Allan Berube, John D'Emilio, and Estelle B. Freedman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834794

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877982_berube

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Coming Out Under Fire

Coming Out Under Fire

(p.100) Chapter 6 Coming Out Under Fire
My Desire for History

Allan Bérubé

University of North Carolina Press

In this essay, Berube shifts his focus toward military policy and the Selective Service System, which he describes as “a stigmatizing machine.” He recounts the ways that lesbian and gay military personnel were “fighting two wars,” one against the external enemy and the other against a set of policies that led to courts-martial, witch hunts, imprisonment, and dishonorable discharges. As with his historical accounts of police repression and arrests in San Francisco, Berube is at pains to argue that repression also breeds resistance. “The current spirit of resistance,” he writes, “was born under fire.” The essay can be seen as an attempt to create cross-generational links between those who fought back against the military policies of the war years and those who gave birth to gay liberation in the 1970s.

Keywords:   Berube, military policy, Selective Service System, stigmatizing machine, gay military personnel

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