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Excerpt (4:28)
Open Secrets
2003, director: José Torrealba
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Open Secrets
2003, director: José Torrealba
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1
Open Secrets
Excerpt  (4:28) 2003, director: José Torrealba
The film

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 war.

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 bear.

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.