Sergeant Phelps worked for General Eisenhower. Four decades after Eisenhower had defeated the Axis powers, Phelps recalled an extraordinary event. One day, the general told her, “I’m giving you an order to ferret those lesbians out. We’re going to get rid of them.”
“I looked at him and then I looked at his secretary who was standing next to me, and I said, ‘Well, sir, if the general pleases, sir, I’ll be happy to do this investigation for you. But you have to know that the first name on the list will be mine.’ “
“And he was kind of taken aback a bit. And then this women standing next to me said, ‘Sir, if the General pleases, you must be aware that Sergeant Phelp’s name may be second, but mine will be first.”
“Then I looked at him, and said, ‘Sir, you’re right. They’re lesbians in the WAC battalion. And if the general is prepared to replace all the file clerks, all the section commanders, all the drivers-every woman in the WAC detachment-and there were about nine hundred and eighty something of us-then I’ll be happy to make that list. But I think the general should be aware that among those women are the most highly decorated women in the war. There have been no cases of illegal pregnancy. There have been no cases of AWOL. There have been no cases of misconduct. And as a matter of fact, every six months since we’ve been here, the general has awarded us a commendation for meritorious conduct.”
“And he said, ‘Forget the order.’”
The Gay Metropolis, page 47, Charles Kaiser (via bibliothekara)
Phelps tells this story herself in the excellent 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube (she’s at 19:30, but really, watch the whole thing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX7AxQd82H8
Someone in my office is eating a lunch so garlic-laden that I can smell it from four cubes away. Guess we’ll all be safe from vampires today…
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
First and foremost, I would like to apologize for your email addresses. I have tried repeatedly to have them switched to your requested handles, but it is, after all, Tony’s system, and he keeps switching them back. (Except for yours, Mr. Barton. For some reason, he seems to have deemed this choice acceptable.)
Secondly: it has come to my attention that each of you has, in one way or another, been accosted by Tony with demands that you move into the Tower as soon as humanly possible. As I know how Tony can be, I wanted to make sure to shoot you a little note clarifying our position. We — that is, Tony and I — of course welcome each of you to join us in calling the Tower home, but you are not, as Tony may have suggested, under any obligation to do so. If you decide not to move in, that is perfectly acceptable, and I assure you that there will be no follow through on any threats to that may have been made to: stalk you; release feral cats in and/or around your homes; infect your apartments with a variety of insects including but not limited to bedbugs; blame you personally for the downfall of human civilization when inevitably the great enemy comes and you’re not there due to your selfish decision to retain your own residence; use technological prowess to make your bed smell constantly of tuna fish; buy your buildings and demolish them.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, this is, for better or worse, how Tony sees fit to make friends. He is not particularly good at it, as I am sure you have all come to realize. This is why I have copied Colonel Rhodes and Dr. Banner on this email — their first-hand experience in Tony’s peculiar brand of affection may help you through the upcoming period of transition, as I am unfortunately far too busy to shepherd you all any further. Please direct any further inquiries, phone calls, concerns, and angry shrieking rants to either Colonel Rhodes or Dr. Banner, both of whom have repeatedly expressed willingness to commiserate in frustration on the topic of Tony.
I hope this has been helpful, and I look forward to seeing you all in the future.
Chief Executive Officer