“By the spring of 1961, the idea for resolving his struggle was almost fully formed. There was a way to prove to the world he was a man. Nobody would call him queer if he was defending his country. That’s what men did.
Jess visited his local Navy recruiting station. As he sat filling out his enlistment application, he came across the box that asked whether he had ‘homosexual tendencies.’ He felt a stab in the pit of his stomach. They must know his secret. Why else would it be on the form? He paused and then quickly checked ‘no.’ Nobody challenged him. On November 21, 1961, Jessop was accepted into the United States Navy. He set out to become the best sailor he could.”
– Conduct Unbecoming: Gays & Lesbians in the U.S. Military by Randy Shilts, page 29-30. (via vietnamwarera)