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In the Navy - terminology


"I went in the and I was in the Wrens when I was eighteen in 1953 and I have to say, hand on heart, there were no gay relationships that I was aware of. I joined up because I wanted to get out of Birmingham, I wanted to get away from that deprivation which, again, wouldn’t have been a word in my vocabulary, I’ve learned that since. There was a period when I went on a joint services exercise in Gibraltar and met some Army (ref: ) girls and, of course, they’re notorious for gays and I was just gob smacked. I watched these women and even then I wouldn’t have said ‘lesbian’, I would have said they were ‘’. I think ‘tom boy’ about weighs it up but you were only allowed to be a tom boy until you were about thirteen. I thought it was something innocent but it wasn’t at all".

Contributed by: Jean Turley, 72

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