COMING OUT UNDER FIRE shoots to the heart of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays and lesbians in the military. Recipient of a George Foster Peabody Award and a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award, this internationally acclaimed film uncovers the World War II origins of a military policy which labeled homosexuals as mentally ill and sought their discharge as "undesirables."

COMING OUT UNDER FIRE features nine gay and lesbian veterans who recount how they joined the patriotic war against fascism in the 1940s only to find themselves fighting two battles: one for their country and another for their right to serve. They first remember warm and entertaining stories of finding each other in a compulsory heterosexual environment and reminisce over tales of first love and deep friendships. Their good times were short-lived, however, as they became targets of newly created anti-homosexual policies which called for witch hunts, dehumanizing interrogations, involuntary psychiatric treatments, and the incarceration of suspected homosexuals into "queer stockades." The final humiliation was a dishonorable discharge which stripped a soldier of all veterans benefits as well as being officially branded a "sex pervert" for life.

COMING OUT UNDER FIRE is based on the ground-breaking book by MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient, Allan Bérubé, and integrates compelling on-camera interviews with declassified military documents and archival footage on sex education, mental health, prison compounds, and court martial hearings. It probes the origins of the military's anti-homosexual policy to document how pseudo-psychiatry, erroneous medical theory, and misplaced ethics masked a policy based on nothing short of prejudice. COMING OUT UNDER FIRE concludes with riveting scenes from 1993 U.S. Senate hearings which expose how the American government justifies and reaffirms it's 50-year-old system for persecuting homosexual service personnel.

Major funding for COMING OUT UNDER FIRE was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the Independent Television Service. Additional funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the Edelman Family Fund.

Visit the film's web page: deepfocusproductions.com/coming_out_under_fire.php

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Arthur Dong Films

DeepFocus Productions, Inc. PRO

With over 100 international film awards to his name, the range of Arthur Dong’s storytelling mastery is brought to light in this selection of films that explore the Chinese American experience, as well as the challenges faced by gay men and lesbians.…


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With over 100 international film awards to his name, the range of Arthur Dong’s storytelling mastery is brought to light in this selection of films that explore the Chinese American experience, as well as the challenges faced by gay men and lesbians. Read more about his work at deepfocusproductions.com/

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