A new edition of a book that has changed the way we think about sexual conduct and combat.
Homosexuality and military service have made strange bedfellows over the last hundred years. Military leaders have generally seen homosexuals as unmanly, immoral, and - according to the U.S. military - a threat to unit cohesion, a claim that continues to prop up the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Struggles for equal rights have not been limited to the United States: during the Second World War, the Canadian military was acutely concerned with homosexuality and, as the war progressed, senior military brass became increasingly determined to rid the services of those engaged in "disgraceful conduct of an indecent kind."
Using a wide array of sources - including long-closed court martial records, psychiatric and personnel files, unit war diaries, films, and oral histories - Paul Jackson relates the struggle of queer servicemen of all ranks and branches of the Canadian military to fit in to avoid losing their careers and reputations. He argues that even though homosexual men were often accepted and popular within their units, if they were accused of homosexual behaviour, they were subjected to psychiatric assessments, courts-martial proceedings, prison terms, and dishonourable discharges. An influential and eye-opening study, the author has updated this critically acclaimed work with a new preface that considers depictions of soldiers serving in the war in Afghanistan and the continued silence about homosexual servicemen and women.