erushi (erushi) wrote in little_details,

questions about attitudes towards homosexuality in the 1910s US and about US WWI military uniforms

Hi, I'm currently trying to write something set in a steampunk-ish sort of America. It's pretty much an alternative history thing, so most of the events which happened in the past in our world would have happened there too, only with science being a tad more advanced there than in our corresponding time.

The Setting

Basically, it's set in the 1910s, during WWI (which, unfortunately, with the state of science being more advanced, also contains some tactics more commonly associated with WWII, and covered a much larger geographical scale). For various reasons, America has decided to join the war in Europe much, much earlier instead of adopting a pacifist stance, and to a much larger degree. (I am also toying with the idea of possible sporadic air incursions by the Central Powers over (coastal) American areas, but am as of now still quite undecided.)

Anyway, one of the characters is involved in intelligence gathering, and as part of his cover is a member of the aviation side of the US army fighting on the Western front. He gets his information but gets injured in the process, and is made to go on a rest cure somewhere back home in America. There, he meets this other guy, hijinks ensue, and they supposedly fall in love in the process.

American Attitudes Towards Homosexuality in the 1910s

1) How accepting would American society have been of homosexuality in the 1910s have been?

All I know that the suffragette movement was accompanied by a quieter movement for homosexual rights, that the 1920s saw a wider acceptance (though there were still fears of persecution) which diminished upon the return to conservatism in the 1930s, and that the years during and post-WWII were far, far, far from homosexual-friendly. My research targetted specifically at the 1910s, however, has come up with nothing, and the up-and-down changes over those few decades makes it rather hard to extrapolate.

2) Closely tied with the first question, since social attitudes would definitely inform personal opinions - how accepting/willing-to-admit would a man of that time be of homosexuality, and/or to be able/willing to venture that another male party who he has met in a clandestine setting might be interested/that way inclined?

Both of characters are men, in their 20s, from Texas (Dallas and San Antonio). As mentioned, one of them is from the army, and has already been involved in at least one other homosexual liasion. The other (the unknown character, basically) is one of those liberal, 'mad scientist' types.

US WWI Military Uniforms

3. What were they made of, and/or were they even standard issue?

Far as I can tell, they appear to be of a khaki-ish sort of colour, though I might be wrong about the official name of the colour too, in which case, I'd welcome every and all corrections. I know the British WWI uniforms were made of khaki drill, and I was wondering if the same might be said of the US uniforms.

I've also stumbled across various clothing catalogues for various department stores and the like, advertising (military) clothing (coats, shirts and the like) for military men. I was particularly fascinated by how some of the catalogues mentioned stuff like tailoring said military-ish garb, or that this piece or that piece or this whole collection was targeted at the richer sort of military gentleman - to me, this seems to imply that much if not all of the US WWI military uniform wasn't a standard issue 'uniform' per se. How true is this?

4. Would a US soldier on leave and in the US still have to wear his uniform about, or could he just wear civillian clothing?

The impression I received of the British in WWII was that they did, but this was WWI, and if the war was an ocean away from America...

Tags: 1910-1919, usa: history (misc), ~clothing, ~homosexuality: history, ~world war i

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