LGBTQ* Naval History And People (You Might Want To Know About)
"Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong."
Stephen Decatur was one of the United States’ first naval heroes. During the War of 1812, Decatur commanded a battleship which was victorious over the British ship Macedonian and later assisted with the victory over the ship Endymion. Decatur was also one of the driving forces in obtaining a peace treaty with Algeria in 1815.
Decatur worked closely with Richard Somers. The friendship between the two men was often questioned and met some ridicule (Decatur was married and Somers was seeing someone). One story claims that five young officers questioned Somers behavior and challenged him to a duel. Somers wounded three of the men before receiving his first wound, to his arm. Legend claims following Somer’s wound, Decatur stepped in and the following men fled.
Like most stories of deep respect and affection, this one ends sadly. Somers was killed after volunteering to blow up a pirate stronghold after the plan went terribly wrong. Decatur watched from his own vessel as Somers life was lost and his body eventually washed ashore.
Before his death, Somers gave Decatur a gold ring. Decatur wore the token until his own death, in a duel with naval officer James Barron, at age forty-one.
LGBTQ* Books on our Radar
Kristen Beck’s autobiography Warrior Princess
(following from AddictingInfo)
[Note: After this story came out I was informed that the proper assignation for a Navy SEAL is “sailor,” not “soldier." In a nod to respect and accuracy, that has now been reflected in the text of the article below, though I cannot change the title at this point. My apologies as a civilian. LDW]
Think you know what a real man is? A strong, macho, GI Joe kind of all-American m-a-n man? Certainly they are in all the places and professions you’d imagine – tinker, tailor, soldier, spy – but let’s look for a moment at the “soldier” assignation. Or, more accurately in this case, sailor. Nothing could be more macho than a military man and no military man could be more vaunted, respected or fitting of the stereotype of MAN than a special ops Navy SEAL. This story is about one such man: a 20-year veteran who was a member of the elite SEAL Team 6 (the same one that took out Osama bin Laden), who came out as transgender and began the transition in 2011 to evolve from male to female, from Chris Beck to, now, Kristen Beck.
While gender transition can be fraught with emotional and societal challenges for anyone in any field, for a Navy SEAL, one of the most entrenched categories of the male identity, the conflict of dealing with gender issues while bound by both military culture and policy were particularly excruciating. Though the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ended official discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, it did not end the ban on transgender service members, which means transgender men or women are at risk of discharge if their status is discovered. For Beck, that meant hiding not only the external trappings of her femininity (panty hose were tucked way back in the drawer), but keeping any indication of her true gender from public view. And as a SEAL, that meant maintaining a look and performance that was in keeping with the “macho” man she was… and she did.
…continue reading HERE.
KNOWhomo would like to take a moment today to remember the fallen soldiers and members of the military (anywhere at anytime for any country).
No matter what your stance on the military (anywhere at anytime for any country), we know many individuals of the LGBTQ* community lost their lives and we’d like to take a moment to reflect on that history.
If you’d like to know more about LGBTQ* military history, check out our hashtag #Military.
LGBTQ* Nonfiction Books You Have Asked About
Over the last year, many people have asked about the literature on my bookshelves behind me in select vlogs. I usually respond one-on-one but as emails continue to circulate, I decided to share the titles with you.
The picture above and information below are nonfiction texts from a section of my Queer* bookcase. In the future I will post fiction, theory and graphic novels (which take up other shelves).
Keep On, Keeping On
Left to Right:
Summers, Claude J. The QUEER Encyclopedia of Music, Dance & Musical Theatre. San Francisco, CA.: Cleis, 2004.
McGarry, Molly, and Fred Wasserman. Becoming Visible: An Illustrated History of Lesbian and Gay Life in Twentieth-century America. New York: Penguin Studio, 1998.
Trachtenberg, Robert, and Tom Bachtell. When I Knew. New York, NY: Regan, 2005
Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1980.
Shilts, Randy. Conduct Unbecoming: Lesbians and Gays in the U.S. Military : Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. New York: St. Martin’s, 1993.
Witt, Lynn, Sherry Thomas, and Eric Marcus. Out in All Directions: The Almanac of Gay and Lesbian America. New York: Warner, 1995.
Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies. Revised Edition New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1995.
Vidal, Gore, and Donald Weise. Sexually Speaking: Collected Sex Writings. San Francisco, CA: Cleis, 2001.
Bernstein, Robin. Cast Out: Queer Lives in Theater. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2006.
Smith, Patricia Juliana. The Queer Sixties. New York: Routledge, 1999.
Ayres, Ian, and Jennifer Gerarda Brown. Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2005.
Bronski, Michael. A Queer History of the United States. Boston: Beacon, 2011.
Fischer, Erica. Aimée & Jaguar: A Love Story, Berlin 1943. Los Angeles, CA: Alyson, 1998.
Etheridge, Melissa, and Laura Morton. The Truth Is— : My Life in Love and Music. New York: Villard, 2001.
Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle. Boston, MA: Alyson Publications, 1980.
Gray, Mary L. Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America. New York: New York UP, 2009.
Kennedy, Pagan. The First Man-made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-century Medical Revolution. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2007.
Reuter, Donald F. Gay 2 Zee: The Visualised Guide to Gay Words, Slang, Phrases, People, Places and Things. New York: Griffin, 2006.
Jennings, Kevin. One Teacher in 10: LGBT Educators Share Their Stories. Los Angeles: Alyson, 2005.
Vincent, Norah. Self-made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Richards, Dell. Lesbian Lists: A Look at Lesbian Culture, History, and Personalities. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1990.
Solomon, Alisa, and Framji Minwalla. The Queerest Art: Essays on Lesbian and Gay Theater. New York: New York UP, 2002.
DeGeneres, Betty. Love, Ellen: A Mother/daughter Journey. New York: Rob Weisbach, 1999.
Doty, Alexander. Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1993.
Marcus, Eric, and Eric Marcus. Making Gay History: The Half-century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights. New York: Perennial, 2002.
Faderman, Lillian, and Brigitte Eriksson. Lesbians in Germany: 1890’s-1920’s. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad, 1990.
Bornstein, Kate. Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws. New York: Seven Stories, 2006.
LGBQ* Military Pride* Appreciation Photo Series
Various photos from the last two years of serving and retired American military soldiers
LGBQ* News and Photographs You Might Have Missed
First Time Active Duty Soldiers March in a Pride Parade
in Full Uniform with Government’s Approval
Kannon Cole, 7, watches his mother Marine Sgt. Bris Holland carry the flag at the beginning of San Diego’s annual LGBT Pride parade. Holding his hand is her partner, Jaxs Jacquez.
(Photograph by: Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times / July 21, 2012)
I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. ~Benjamin Harrison
Memorial Day/Vintage Soldiers Appreciation Post
Memorial Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May. It originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the war. The South had a remembrance day (also in May) but the day was not celebrated jointly until the beginning of the 20th century. Formally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day has become a day to remember all those who have served and fallen during a time of war.
This Memorial Day, take pause to remember all those who have joined, been drafted, and volunteered for the armed forces. No matter where you stand on the war, military placement in society and government, please take a moment to reflect on those who have served.
LGBTQ* History You Should Know
(And Probably Never Heard Of)
Before Asking - Fighting Against the Tells
Seven years before Stonewall, thirty years prior to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell -
Activists Craig Rodwell and Randy Wicker, along with a small group of others, picketed New York City’s draft board offices in 1962. The political demonstration was done to highlight the unfair persecution of gay and lesbian soldiers in the United States Military and dishonorable discharges being issued to veterans. The protesters also called out the unjust policy of releasing draft-age men’s information of their sexual orientation to employers.
LGBTQ* Military, Significant Others and “Awww!” Moment
Lesbian Couple Wins ‘Welcome Home First Kiss’
Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta won a raffle on the dock landing ship Oak Hill to be the first to kiss a loved one on its return to port in Virginia Beach. Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell was waiting when she crossed the brow.
LGBTQ* Quick Queer History
Homosexuality in the American Military FYI Moment
(Note: Since so many politicians are throwing around Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and (INCORRECT) phrases about how homosexuality has been banned from the ranks since the beginning of the USA’s military forces, here’s a bit of information to explain its true history. —Rebecca)
Prior to WORLD WAR II there was no formal method/practice of excluding homosexuals from the armed forces in the United States of America. Acts of sodomy were punishable as a criminal act and soldiers could face court-martial or expulsion from the service.
During WWII, the American Selective Service System began to hire and rely on psychiatrists more heavily during routine recruitment screenings. It was during this time that “homosexuality” was noted as unfit for duty and service within the armed forces. During initial screenings, psychiatrists would ask male recruits if “they liked girls” and questions about their last relationships all the while watching for “effeminate looks or behavior.” Psychiatrists would also drop “code phrases” and “gay slang” and document if the soldier reacted or knew the meaning/understood the phrase.
When need for troops in WWII grew to a desperate level, the government told psychiatrists to let everyone through. The government would go on to say that the entire screening process was ineffective and very costly to the military budget. It is believed that for every ONE person banned from joining the service, ten gay men would enter following evaluations.
Following WWII, men who were discharged where given a Blue Slip/Blue Discharge, named because of the paper color they were printed on. These Blue Slips DISHONORABLY discharged men and were a permanent marker of homosexual charges. The names of these men were supplied to employers by the military, making it nearly impossible for some to find work after being released.
This policy remained in effect until Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
for more information read: Conduct Unbecoming by Randy Shilts or A Queer History of the United States