admiring the stockings. 1940’s.
Fun fact: Though being gay in the 40s sucked, being gay in the military was easier, and pretty common. There were apparently, at one point in time time so many lesbians in the military that when they tried to crack down on it, the girls wrote back and said “Look I can give you the names, but you’ll lose some of your best officers, and half your nurses and secretaries.” And they pretty much shut up about it unless you were especially bad at subtlety. (Source: Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers. A good source for gay history from 1900s onwards.)
Sergeant Phelps worked for General Eisenhower. Four decades after Eisenhower had defeated the Axis powers, Phelps recalled an extraordinary event. One day the general told her, “I’m giving you an order to ferret those lesbians out.’ We’re going to get rid of them.”
“I looked at him and then I looked at his secretary. who was standing next to me, and I said, ‘Well, sir, if the general pleases, sir, I’ll be happy to do this investigation for you. But you have to know that the first name on the list will be mine.’
“And he kind of was taken aback a bit. And then this woman standing next to me said, ‘Sir, if the general pleases, you must be aware that Sergeant Phelps’s name may be second, but mine will be first.’
“Then I looked at him, and I said, ‘Sir, you’re right. They’re lesbians in the WAC battalion. And if the general is prepared to replace all the file clerks, all the section commanders, all of the drivers—every woman in the WAC detachment—and there were about nine hundred and eighty something of us—then I’ll be happy to make the list. But I think the general should be aware that among those women are the most highly decorated women in the war. There have been no cases of illegal pregnancies. There have been no cases of AWOL. There have been no cases of misconduct. And as a matter of fact, every six months since we’ve been here, sir, the general has awarded us a commendation for meritorious service.’
“And he said, ‘Forget the order.’
– The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America
I’ve reblogged this before but it didn’t have these comments and HOLY HOT DAMN DID IT NEED THEM.