When the Military Expelled LGBTQ Soldiers With ‘Blue Discharges’

In May 1944, Lemuel S. Brown, a United States Army lieutenant during World War II, received a piece of blue Army paper, informing him that he was being discharged. The reason? “Undesirable” behavior – in particular, an accusation of “attempting to perpetrate an act of homosexuality”, as he explained in a letter to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, from which he sought legal aid. He wanted to fight against his so-called “blue discharge”, because receiving it carried a powerful stigma and serious negative consequences for his future.

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