forgotten sailor

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LGBT History: Gay GI’s fought their own Holocaust in the US

Excerpt from the Book Coming Out under Fire The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two: In Combat, gay GIs pointed their guns at enemy soldiers. But some gay servicemen also found American guns pointed at them. Those who were caught having sex, or who were rounded up in systematic witch hunts at stateside or overseas bases, or who were asking for help coping as homosexuals in the service, found themselves fighting a war for their own survival. As officers began to discharge homosexuals as undesirables, the gay GIs who were their targets had to learn how to defend themselves in psychiatrists’ offices, discharge hearing rooms, hospital wards, and “queer stockades.” There they were interrogated about their sex lives, locked up, physically abused, and subjected to systematic humiliations in front of other soldiers.

Officers who conducted interrogations were neither friendly nor understanding. Their jobs was to extract confessions and the names of others homosexuals by systematically destroying a suspect’s emotional defenses. Confessions were the proof needed to issue a discharge, and names helped interrogators round up more suspects. The interrogations usually began with some form of confinement or restriction to barracks, often under armed guard. Many patriotic gay soldiers and sailors felt betrayed by their government when they were thrown into locked wards with violent psychotics, suspected criminals, and prisoners of war.

In December 1943, Pvt. Norman Sansom was admitted to a locked psychiatric ward at Walterboro Army Air Field in Georgia, he discovered that all the other ‘patients’ were German prisoners of war except for two other gay American soldiers. Making the best of a bad situation, the three gay patients cheered themselves up by teaching the Germans how to sing “This is the Army, Mr. Jones.” “I can still here them now on the ward,” Sansom recalled. “Every morning we’d have our little ‘musicale.’ They couldn’t speak any English at all, but they were able to sing, ‘Dis is dee Army, Mister Shones.’”

Gay men who were locked up sometimes were terrorized by sadistic guards who, in private areas of the stockades, subjected them to psychological torture. “They treated us like scum,” recalled Bill Thompson, who was placed with other men from Noumea under Marine Corps guard in the brig said, ‘You sons of bitches are going to eat out of garbage cans! Get the fuck out of here!“

“You wouldn’t believe the treatment in the brig,” added David Barrett, who was also shipped to Treasure Island. “There was a guy called Big John. He lined us up in front of all the inmates there who were murderers, rapists, thieves- everything you could think of. He lined us up and he just tore us apart. He told all the rest of them that he thought more of them because we were the scum of the fucking earth.”

As David Barrett and his gay brigmates were transferred from Treasure Island to Camp Shoemaker, in Pleasanton, California, they were thrown into the back of a truck. “Two young marines got in the truck with us,” Barrett recalled. “They said, 'Don’t open your mouth!’ And they sat there with their finger on the trigger of the gun aimed at us the whole drive over there. When we got out of that van, there was a lieutenant there and he said, 'Why didn’t you shoot the motherfuckers!’ That’s how we were greeted.”

Some guards stationed at the stockades believed that homosexual inmates were available to them for sexual services and abused their power accordingly. At Treasure Island, Bill Thompson recalled, the “marines would come by and they’d get detail from the brig to go do something. There were three marines; they picked three of us. The marines just took them off somewhere and got blowjobs…” David Barrett reported similar sexual abuse at the Quonset hut in Noumea, where the Marine guards nightly escorted one man to the outdoor latrine to use him for their own pleasure. “The guards were all getting done,” Thompson explained, “ and then guarding the people that were blowing them! How do you like that! So if it came down to it, they could have put the whole goddamn armed forces in the brig!”

While this kind of abuse took place under cover, other officers more openly subjected homosexuals to public humiliation. When men in Noumea had to walk the quarter mile from the Quonset hut to the mess hall, David Barrett recalled, “we folded our arms in front of us. The rest of the hillside was lined with thousands of guys waiting to go chow, and the minute we’d start down, there’d be whistles all over the place. 'Oh, here come the girls!’ And it was a rough experince to go through.“ "Hey, fuckin’ fruits! Hey, queers!’” Thompson remembered them saying. “It was just humiliating to go through that, three times a day.” Norman Sansom remembered such an experience in Georgia as “one of the most traumatic things in my life. I just felt all of these eyes upon me and could hear 'fairy,’ 'fruit’, 'cocksucker.’ and I just wanted to block it out of my mind. It was almost like being in front of a firing squad.”

During a war time which American propaganda condemned the evils of fascism and intolerance, the men who had to endure brutal treatment for being gay, perceived the military as acting in ways that resembled the fascism they were supposed to be fighting. Whenever gay veterans, especially those locked up in queer stockades under armed guard, compared themselves to victims of the Nazis, they did not do so lightly. As Fred Thayer and his fellow inmates who were labeled with tags hanging from their shirts that said “Psychopathia Sexualis” were being transported from the hospital in New Caledonia to ship’s queer brig, the truck stopped at a disciplinary barracks to pick up Thayer’s friend from the cavalry company, whom he hadn’t seen in weeks. “He crawled into the back of the truck,” Thayer recalled, “looking like something from Dachau. I’ll never forget it. He took one look at me and fell in my arms and cried for the next hour and a half.” From his own ordeal, Thayer weighed “only 112 and I looked like a skeleton, like I’d been through
hell. In a way I suppose I had. But it wasn’t from the Japanese and guns.”

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I’M TEARING UP AT THE OPENING THIS IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS FUCKING SHIT

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I WATCHED THIS OPENING

HOW MANY WORDS HAVE I SCREAMED ABOUT IT

Ami with her little cheeky tongue and her cheekier little bum wiggle.

Rei shopping and stomping through the world like she owns it. Rei tripping and falling on her face because not yet, Rei. Not quite yet.

Mako being beautiful and strong and gentle and so so precious even butterflies love her, and all she can do is look puzzled about it.

Minako worried about her whatever that is, but flipping it anyway and then catching it all “HELL YEAH I CAUGHT IT I AM SAILOR FUCKING V AND I AM AMAZING”.

Only you’re not just amazing, are you, Minako?

BECAUSE YOU’RE ALSO DEAD

YOU’RE ALL DEAD

YOU’RE SO PAINFULLY, VIVIDLY ALIVE IN THE OPENING, AND I’VE LOVED THAT, BUT NOW IT’S TORTURE BECAUSE IT’S BECOME ASHES AND LIES

THANK YOU FOR THE REMINDER OF HOW NOT OKAY I AM

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Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon - Act 06 [x]

A continuation of this post, where they find out that Luna is from the Moon, that Luna was the one who awakened them (rather than being triggered by coming across her, I assume), and that the Moon princess is from Moon royalty.  And I started eying Luna suspiciously.

Here, though, is where I start to really give Luna the side-eye, because she seems very mum about what she knows, only just now admitting to a lot of stuff (the power of the Silver Crystal, the Moon kingdom stuff, the ancient enemy, how much Luna was responsible for awakening them, etc.) and then there’s that Sailor V game.

It’s never explicitly said how the game came about or where it came from or what exactly it does to them, but there definitely seems to be something hinky about it, whether it’s just simply a training exercise for them, that it’s testing their focus or their memories for when they need a power up, or if it’s influencing them somehow.  Or if it’s just somehow slowly getting them used to the idea of fighting enemies and Luna’s using it to plant the idea of Minako as the princess, so that Usagi could be protected a little while later.

It’s not ully clear how much Luna remembered or what she knows—she later says that she never expected that Tuxedo Mask might be Endymion, as well as later says that the reason Venus was presented as a double for Serenity was because Usagi-chan to keep her hidden and protect her awhile longer, but it doesn’t explicitly say that Luna knew Usagi was the princess before that, but she never expresses direct surprise at the fact that Usagi is Serenity, only surprise when it happens.

She also says, “…we were hoping we could deceive the enemy a little longer than we did.” so, yeah, Luna totally knew and didn’t tell them. She encouraged Usagi to investigate things, to get stronger in her fighting, but planted the decoy (which Minako was in on, as well as Artemis) to give her time to get stronger, because Serenity would have no memories of fighting to draw on.

I guess I never really gave much thought to Luna’s part in all of this, how much she knew when she knew it, but her memories may be fuzzy (she slept for a really long time) and not totally clear, so not all of it is direct manipulation.  And it’s for the greater good, it’s necessary to give Usagi a chance to get stronger, but still.  I’m a little surprised at just how much Luna was hiding from them and it gives a new layer of intrigue to the character for me, because you can feel just how much she loves Usagi and why she did it.

Especially knowing that Usagi’s full awakening—all of the girls’ full awakenings, really—meant the end of their carefree human lives.  That’s got to be a heavy burden for a little cat.

(Note:  I’m aware that this gets commented on more directly later, but this is my first time through these early chapters again since I first read them in a wild rush all at once because I was so hooked, so a lot of stuff I’m only just picking up on now.  But that’s what the reread is for!  It just means that sometimes I’m going to go WHOA WAIT A MINUTE to stuff that’s explicitly explained later, that I’d forgotten about.)