Shilts turns his attention to the struggle for gays and lesbians to remain in active duty for the U.S. military. Shilts highlights the struggles of Edward Modesto, Leonard Matlovich and Margarethe Cammermeyer (among others) amidst gay purges. Shilts examines efforts to repeal the gay ban in the run-up to the Persian Gulf War. Shilts traces the history of the ban military ban to include the heart-breaking story of Thomas Dooley. The issue of outing is explored with Shilts in opposition to more radical opinions that closeted persons (especially those in positions of power) should be outed. Writing process for “Conduct Unbecoming” is explored as Shilts battles life-threatening health episodes as his HIV status advances to an AIDS diagnosis.
Keywords: gays in the military; Edward Modesto, Leonard Matlovich, Margarethe Cammermeyer, Department of Defense, Fort Carson, Fort Leavenworth Prison, Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein, George H.W. Bush, Donna Lynn Jackson, combat zone, military reserves, Pentagon, Bronze Star, Vietnam War, Dick Cheney, Pete Williams, Linda Alband, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, full-blown AIDS, AZT treatments, azido thymidine, aerosolized pentamidine mists, PCP, pneumocystis pneumonia, nebulizer machine, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Douglas MacArthur, Bill Clinton, Presidential primaries, Thomas Dooley, Deliver Us from Evil, Catholic Church, Legion of Merit, late-stage syphilis, chronic syphilis, St. Maritn’s Press, Michael Denneny, Barry Barbieri, Guerneville California, Peter Jennings, Ross Perot, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, Norman, Schwarzkopf, George Stephanopoulos, David Mixner, DADT, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
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