In writings about her time in the Army during the second world war, Rita Laporte reveals that she fell in love for the first time. Laporte decided that the only way to rejoin the woman who had been transferred to a different base was to “sacrifice all on the altar of love” by admitting that she was homosexual to get discharged from the Army:
I awaited my fate. Then the Major smiled. In a kindly voice he said, “You’re kidding. I don’t believe you.” I was stunned. Naturally I had rehearsed all the Major’s possible answers. I was ready to hang my head in deepest shame, to bear up under all insults, to weep or not weep, as might be necessary. Something was terribly wrong.
At last I blurted out, “But I AM one!”
We argued. I pleaded But it was useless; I could not convince him.
Women were undeniably an integral part of the US military during World War 2. The army also became a place where women who loved women could feasibly meet women like themselves. Their contributions were so crucial that officials were put in the awkward position of either condoning what had been condemned as “monstrosities” only a decade ago, risking what had clearly worked to their benefit, or denying the lesbianism that clearly flourished around them. They chose the latter.
Read more about WLW in World War 2 and it lead to the start of lesbian political consciousness in the United States HERE
Source: “We Protest” Leaflet distributed by the Coalition for a Feminist Sexuality at Barnard College Conference “The Scholar and the Feminist”