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Coming Out Under Fire (1994)

A historical account of military policy regarding homosexuals during World War II. The documentary includes interviews with several gay WWII veterans.


Arthur Dong

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9 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Salome Jens ... Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Phillis Abry Phillis Abry ... Herself - Radio Technician, Women's Army Corps
David Barrett David Barrett ... Himself - Storekeeper, U.S. Navy
Alan Bergreen ... Additional Voice (voice)
Pat Bond Pat Bond ... Herself - Medical Technician, U.S. Women's Army Corps (scenes deleted)
Margarethe Cammermeyer Margarethe Cammermeyer ... Herself - Former Colonel & Chief Nurse, Washington National Guard (archive footage)
Bill Clinton ... Himself - President of the United States (archive footage) (as President Bill Clinton)
Daniel R. Coats Daniel R. Coats ... Himself - Indiana Senator (archive footage) (as Sen. Dan Coats)
Max Cole Max Cole ... Himself - Communications and Boat Officer in the Amphibious Force, U.S. Navy (scenes deleted) (as Ernest Max Cole)
Sarah Davis Sarah Davis ... Herself - Aviation Machinist Mate, WAVES
Elwood Burton Gerrits Elwood Burton Gerrits ... Himself - Pharmacist Mate Third Class, U.S. Navy (scenes deleted)
Nicolai Gioscia Nicolai Gioscia ... Himself - Psychiatrist, U.S. Army (scenes deleted)
Herbert Greenspan Herbert Greenspan ... Himself - Psychiatrist, U.S. Navy (as Dr. Herbert Greenspan)
Victoria Hochberg Victoria Hochberg ... Additional Voice (voice)
David E. Jeremiah David E. Jeremiah ... Himself - Vice Chairman of theU.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (archive footage)


A historical account of military policy regarding homosexuals during World War II. The documentary includes interviews with several gay WWII veterans. Written by Travis <mtharris@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Prejudice In The Military - Then & Now See more »



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

January 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Interview subjects Phillis Abry and Pat Bond both died between their interview dates and the release/premiere of the film. See more »

Crazy Credits

based on the book COMING OUT UNDER FIRE The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two by 'ALLAN BÉRUBÉ' See more »


Features Shades of Gray (1948) See more »


I Don't Care
Words by Jean Lenox
Music by Harry O. Sutton
See more »

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User Reviews

Made Me Angry
22 February 2014 | by roedygSee all my reviews

The way I came at this documentary is a bit different. I grew up in Canada thinking I was the only gay person in the country. In 1969 I discovered everything I had been told about gays was a lie. I then wrote a book, A Guide For The Naive Homosexual, came out publicly, and then chaired G*A*T*E a gay rights group. I spent endless hours trying to persuade gays not to be afraid and to fight for their rights. I faced 3,200 death threats and 38,000 abusive phone from Christians. Within a couple of years, we had the first gay rights legislation.

When I watched this movie I was furious. How dare the US government throw people in jail with hard labour for 5 years during WWII just for a thought crime -- being gay even without any actual sex. That has to be unconstitutional! How dare the government renege on its pension promise and label gay people as mentally ill so they could never get hired. That is a terrible way to treat young men who risked their lives for the USA, same as anyone else. How dare Eisenhower in 1953 order that all gay federal employees be fired. How dare Senator John Warner (aka Mr. Liz Taylor) ask gay American service people to lie and pretend to be straight, and be kicked out if every the camouflage failed. Would he demand that of any other group, e.g. Christians? I was also furious with the victims. They caved and gave names. They did not launch lawsuits once they were free to. They acted ashamed, and hid what happened to them. What snivelling worms! Anyone who was treated this way should be joining forces to sue and get the pension restored, and the discharge annulled. They bought in totally that they were worthless and ineffectual.

I feel sick to watch black people do a minstrel show, or a Stepin Fetchit routine. They are taking on the mantle of the anti-black stereotype. The gays in the movies did the same thing, calling each other "darling" and "girls", embracing the limp-wristed, empty-headed, female-wannabe stereotype. I found it revolting, though I suppose that is the way it was. Being gay has nothing to do with being a transvestite or a transsexual. That is a straight person's stereotype used to justify gay bashing. They all avoided the civil rights issue, filling their heads with trivial entertainments instead.

The movie is pretty good in that the interviewed people were honest about what they did. They did not pretend they were heroic.

The movie is all in black and white, which makes recent and old footage blend. I wish they had date subtitles to help keep track. The interviewees seem too young for WWII vets. Maybe the interviews were done long ago.

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