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Jimi Hendrix, faux queer

The swaggering ultra-het ax-man Hendrix got out of serving in Vietnam by declaring that he was gay, according to a new bio. That’s all it took, and he was outta there. As desperate as the Army is now, would a simple homo declaration pass muster or would he have to prove he was a fag in some more concrete way? (Irish Examiner):

Rock legend Jimi Hendrix pretended he was gay to get out of the US Army, a new biography reveals. Hendrix was discharged from the 101st Airborne division in 1962, launching a musical career that would redefine the guitar, leave other rock heroes of the day speechless and culminate with his headlining performance of The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock in 1969.

Hendrix’s subterfuge, contained in his military medical records, is revealed for the first time in Charles Cross’s biography, Room Full Of Mirrors. Publicly, Hendrix always claimed he was discharged after breaking his ankle on a parachute jump, but his medical records do not mention such an injury.

In regular visits to the base psychiatrist at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in spring 1962, Hendrix complained that he was in love with one of his squad mates, Cross writes. Finally, Capt John Halbert recommended him for discharge, citing his “homosexual tendencies” – four years before Arlo Guthrie suggested that path for avoiding military service in the protest song, Alice’s Restaurant.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding