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SO, YOU'RE STILL AROUND THEN !
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So that's why they called us 
the Brylcreem Boys.
Many years ago I served in the Royal Air Force in Germany. As a gay man it was not an easy time. Even as a civilian, prison was a real possibility for every gay man in the country. In the services, any evidence of being gay however flimsy, could see you marched off for a spell in Colchester military prison and a dishonourable discharge.

Things are certainly somewhat easier for civilians today although servicemen still face great difficulties. Today's gay servicemen are, however serving from choice. At eighteen along with most other eighteen year olds, I was snatched out of civilian life and dumped into a military environment.

During training the horrors of having sex with girls was spelt out with shocking black and white films showing rotting penises. Many recruits fainted during these 'training' films whether from the sight of an actual penis or from the idea of sex with girls I'm not too sure. Having spelled out the horrors of straight sex, we were then given quite clear messages about sexual perversion. 

What I find incredible today is how many of those eighteen to twenty one year olds did manage without any kind of sex for two years. Sure the bed sheets got a good soaking and there were the one or two who seemed to be consorting with every german girl in sight despite the films. Most guys however seemed to spend life asleep on their bed, on duty or getting pissed in the local bars. Failing that a good fight with the local 'lads' involving lots of close physical contact passed the hours away.

The tea was doctored with bromide to reduce the sexual urge, or so we were told and the camp I was in was small and located on the top of a mountain. Despite all this there were moments to cherish. Being a quiet type, I made friends with a local german family through their seventeen year old son who came to the camp to see the English films showing once a week. We had a fairly innocent relationship until he bought a new pair of swimming trunks and insisted I go up to his bedroom so he could show me how well they fitted. After that we had many happy walks in the woods. I was singled out as a 'kraut lover' by my more patriotic embryonic national front comrades but I don't think they knew how close to the truth they were.

I sometimes wonder if the ban on gays in the forces could survive today if conscription was still practised. The constant intake of hundreds of young guys happy with their sexuality and not prepared to take crap from anyone especially a bullying, sweaty drill corporal would probably make any ban collapse as it has in most other more civilised european countries. 

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