Essay on A Struggle for Acceptance of Gays

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A Struggle for Acceptance of Gays

"When the dust settles and the pages of history are written, it will not be the angry defenders of intolerance who have made the difference, that reward will go to those who dared to step outside the safety of their privacy in order to expose and rout the prevailing prejudice."

- John Shelby Spong

Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Newark, NJ

November 21, 1996

During World War II and especially the twenty years after brought great political and social changes to the U.S.. Undoubtedly, one of the major changes was the new awareness of homosexuality. If this new awareness was to the advantage or if it was really wanted by the gay and lesbian population is a question that arises; if
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What these movies do not show is a new community, within the military, of homosexuals who until now lived socially isolated lives because they were either unsure of what they were or of their sexual preferences or just plain scared of what people would think if they found out their secret. In the military, these people found other gay men who were in the same predicament. They weren't alone.

Before the war, gays and lesbians were almost invisible from society. They were not mentioned in the popular media and the general population was oblivious to their existence. An occasional arrest or school expulsion of a Asexual psychopath@ were the only vague signs that the public would hear about. Now that the military accepted or at least needed the cooperation of all men, including homosexuals, an important page had been turned in the progress of gay rights, however, it also set the scene for discrimination and prejudice. Homosexuals were in all branches of the armed forces, from paper pushing to front line combat. Before enlisting, interrogators had forced them to describe their lifestyle, which in turn made it impossible for homosexuals to continue hiding in the closet but instead had to take the first step in living a new open lifestyle. They were classified as Asexual psychopaths@ on their military records, however, they were not being discriminated by

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