Chapter 28: Abstract

Post-1945 Western Militaries, Female Soldiers and Gay and Lesbian Rights

D’Ann Campbell (Culver-Stockton College) and Karen Hagemann (UNC–Chapel Hill, Department of History)

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the changing policies of the professionalizing Western militaries in the post-1945 era towards female, gay, and lesbian soldiers and the challenges they posed to dominant ideas of military masculinity. It discusses the interrelated importance of both gender and sexuality for the determination of the “right to kill and die” for a country. The focus will be on the NATO states Britain, Canada, and the United States. The chapter tries to identify the main enabling and driving factors for policies of integrating women in these three countries, which started in the 1970s, as well as gay and lesbian people that began in the 1990s. It argues that the increasing integration of female, gay, and lesbian soldiers was fostered, first, by the move to professional armies based on volunteers which lead to growing military manpower needs; second, the expanding centrality of de-gendered technological sophistication which allowed the integration of more and more women, because it required skills and knowledge and not mainly strength; third, social movements that pushed for equal rights of women and queer people; and fourth, as a result a change in public opinion.

Keywords

Female Soldiers; Gay and Lesbian Soldiers; Professionalization of Armies; Gender; Masculinity; Martial Military Masculinity; Post-1945; Cold War; Britain, Canada; Europe; United States.

Part IV: "From the Global Cold War to the Conflicts of the Post-Cold War Era" of the Oxford Handbook of Gender and War since 1600.

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