This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in Canadian military history: how the Armed Forces dealt with homosexual behaviour among soldiers, during and after World War II. A group of veterans break their silence after more than 60 years.
We hear from five men, barely adults when they enlisted. From the sexual
timidity of the 1930s, when homosexual behaviour 'was even more unmentionable
than cancer,' spring these stories of sexual awakening amidst the brutality of
Soldiers and officers who depended upon one another for survival
accepted each other's differences. Initially, the Army overlooked homosexual
activity, but as the war advanced, they began to crack down: military
tribunals, threats of imprisonment, discharge and public exposure.
After the war, officers accused of homosexuality were discharged. Back
home in Canada, reputations and careers were ruined. For the young men who had
served their country with valour, this final chapter was often too much to
Interviews are skilfully woven with archival footage and rare
photographs. Open Secrets is based on the Paul
Jackson book, Courting Homosexuals in the Military.
Open Secrets was produced as part of the Reel
Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a
National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.
More info on this film in NFB catalogue »»