Conduct Unbecoming: Gays & Lesbians in the U.S. Military

Open Road Media
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“A thoroughly researched and engrossingly readable history” of gay men and women in the American armed forces by the author of And the Band Played On (The New York Times Book Review).

Published during the same year the American military instituted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and eighteen years before President Barack Obama repealed it, Conduct Unbecoming is a landmark work of social justice and a searing indictment of the military establishment’s historic bigotry toward its gay servicemen and women. Randy Shilts’s eye-opening book describes the bravery, both exceptional and everyday, not only of gay soldiers throughout history, but also of gay men and women serving in our modern military. With each anecdote and investigation, Shilts systematically dismantles the arguments against allowing gays to serve in the military.
 
At once a history of the American military and an account of the gay rights movement, Conduct Unbecoming is a remarkable testament to the progress achieved for gays in the military—and a revealing look at how far we have yet to go.
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About the author

Randy Shilts (1951–1994) was a trailblazing American journalist and author who wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for most of his life, creating the first gay beat in the newspaper world. In addition to his large body of reportage, Shilts also wrote three widely lauded bestselling books—And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS EpidemicThe Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, and Conduct Unbecoming: Gays & Lesbians in the U.S. Military. Shilts remained a crucial figure in the advancement of gay rights until his death of complications from AIDS at the age of forty-two.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Dec 16, 2014
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Pages
793
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ISBN
9781497683150
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / United States
Political Science / Civil Rights
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Throughout history, homosexuality has been a complicating factor for men and women electing to serve in the armed forces of the United States. The right to serve became increasingly complicated when the Department of Defense responded to congressional legislation in 1993 by adopting a policy that later became known as "don’t ask, don’t tell" (DADT). DADT permitted homosexual members to serve in the forces, so long as they showed no evidence of homosexual behavior. The compromise policy remained in force until Congress passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and finally, in September 2011, the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the US armed forces officially came to an end. Reflecting on the 20-year period governed by DADT, this volume explores the history, culture, attitudes and impacts of policy evolution from the mid-20th Century through to the present day. It not only provides insight to the scholarly field of how the most powerful institution in the world has viewed and dealt with homosexuality as it transitioned into the 21st century, but it is also poised to become a seminal collection for researchers in the decades to come.

This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality.

"Parco and Levy have produced a fine edited volume dedicated to deepening our understanding of the federal DADT policy. What has resulted is a deep analysis of the federal policies regarding gays and lesbians in the U.S. military. This volume is filled with rich descriptions and analyses written by the very best thinkers about issues pertaining to gays and lesbians in the U.S. military. Parco and Levy not only offer a comprehensive treatment of DADT, but their book will stand the test of time and spur additional important research about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer service members. The Rise and Fall of DADT is accessibly written and offers readers a comprehensive understanding of the DADT federal policy and the attendant issues of equity, social justice and ever-changing attitudes about LGBTQ people related to the U.S. military and to the larger American society."

John P. Elia, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Homosexuality and Professor and Associate Chair of Health Education at San Francisco State University, USA

"As Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from 2010 to 2012, and the first openly-gay senior official to serve at the Pentagon, I was witness to and honored to be an active participant in the historic process that led to the ban on discrimination against lesbian and gay service members: men and women who had been hiding in plain sight while risking their lives to serve their country honorably. In this volume, Jim Parco and Dave Levy provide what is perhaps the most comprehensive account to date of the evolution of US government policy regarding LGBT service members. Their study includes outstanding firsthand narratives by many friends who played central roles in the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t tell, including Sue Fulton, Jonathan Lee and former Congressman Patrick Murphy. Parco and Levy provide the opportunity for scholars, experts and ordinary citizens from all walks of life to share in those journeys and in the very positive results that were achieved."

Douglas B. Wilson, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for the United States

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