We Can't Even March Straight Paperback – 4 May 1995
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Within NATO only Britain and the USA discriminate against homosexuals in the armed forces, and there are indications that more than 260 homosexuals have been forced to leave Britain's forces since 1990. Drawing on many first-hand experiences, this book is a personal testimony and a plea for change. The author served as a naval officer for two years before acknowledging his homosexuality and resigning his commission.
From the Author
Intriguing to see how quickly the ban was lifted
I wrote the book in 1994 and 1995 and it was part of the campaign to drive the British Government into lifting the ban. Just five years later it seems as though it was written in another era. The ban has been lifted and as of May 2000 three servicemen had been re-instated. It just goes to show how quickly things can happen.
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I am writing a short university paper on changing attitudes in the British armed forces in relation to european identity and the european humand rights act - and so this book has resurfaced for me after many years of being in my collection of books. Reading it again brings up bitter memories but at the same time as sense of deep gratitude to the author Edmund Hall, for putting words to our plight and to our devestation. For most of us dismissed, we had no others to turn to for support at the times (early 80's) - and with the release of this book, there was some support that I was not alone.
As I said, it is now very dated - but dated for very good reasons, in that the law has changed; now the Royal Navy actively advertises in the gay press to enlist.
I have to say that whilst in the Navy (and can not speak for the army or air force) the gay people I knew all were counted as amongst the best in their area. It was a total wast of time and money for the services to dismiss them. As I was being put through professional training - it cost the Navy several 10's of thousands of pounds to train me - just to be thrown away because of my sexuality!
So I am grateful for this book - and for it being dated - a thing I thouht I'd never say about a book! But I am also grateful for the author writing it in the first place, and giving me a sense of "not being alone".
I never did join "rank outsiders" - the experience being just too painful and bitter. But am glad for those who did - and for those who dragged the MOD through the European courts and got some kind of justice but also meaning a gay man or woman can now be part of the forces and their rights as human beings be upheld - and not a thing to be dragged through the mud by the SIB!