In Ancient Greece and Rome, in Crusader campaigns and pirate adventures, same-sex romances were a common and condoned part of military culture. From the Peloponnesian War to the Gulf War, from Achelleus to Lawrence of Arabia gays and lesbians have played a crucial but often hidden role in military campaigns. But recent debates over the legality of gay service in the military and the don’t ask, don’t tell policy have obscured this rich aspect of military history. Richard Burg has recovered important documents and assembled an anthology on these often invisible gay and lesbian warriors.
Burg shows us that the Amazons of legend weren’t just fictional. We learn about the richness and variety of their culture in documents from Plato, Seneca and Suetonius. From courts-martial proceedings we discover women warriors in seventeenth century England who passed as men in order to serve, and army officers whose underground culture fostered long-term romantic friendships.
There are also sections on the American Civil War, World War I and II, the contemporary U.S. military as well as sailors and pirates. This anthology will forever change the way we think about gays in the military.