How gay panic gripped 1960s Royal Navy
October 31, 2002 8:41 AM Subscribe
How gay panic gripped 1960s Royal Navy One sailor reportedly picked up a prostitute who he believed to be female. Realising he wasn't who she appeared to be, the sailor reportedly declared: "Blimey, you're all there!" Nevertheless, he apparently became "infatuated".
This kind of incident led admirals to argue that most of the men accused were only inadvertently homosexual, rather than dangerous "perverts".
Just-released documents from the UK Public Records Office
show some interesting attitudes among the Navy hierarchy at the time. The rationalising of the various activities uncovered is actually quite creative, and weirdly more tolerant than that in subsequent decades, when gay activity got people summarily thrown out of the forces. Even this particular 'crisis' eventually triggered a new 'education' programme on the evils of homosexuality though. In this instance, the pendulum seems not so much to have swung as to have careered wildly in all directions. A bit like the sailors.... (sorry).
posted by jonpollard (11 comments total)