Ray Harvey Amer
Ray talks about
his time in the Royal Navy:
"I joined the navy in 1957.
It was the rum, bum and backy,
it was because I was gay.
We had this wonderful uniform
which was very effeminate
but supposedly butch,
with its flairs and pinched waist."
"They did have
an affectionate language,
a bit like the gay polari,
You had these names of endearment,
which meant that you were very close,
or if he was slightly younger than you,
you would say 'he's my piece of skin'."
"I think the majority would have
defined themselves as heterosexual,
but they did it.
So you might be ashore one night
and have great fun with somebody
and then they would
just smile at you the next day.
But they wouldn't let on
and they wouldn't let you let on.
Even if they didn't have sex
they were very loving. "
"Sometimes there were people
who spent all their time together,
talking, gazing into one another's eyes
and touching a lot.
There was homophobia from above decks
because it was illegal,
you had to make sure that
you weren't caught.
But it was great fun.
Lots of men loving men,
the navy was very gay,
very gay indeed."