chapter  46
6 Pages

Loren Wahl, the Invisible Glass

The title The Invisible Glass (Greenberg, 1950) is taken from W. E. B. Du Bois’s Dusk of Dawn, and is a reference to the divide between blacks and whites who see but do not know each other. It is a phrase that might, of course, also be applied to gays and straights. In full, the quotation reads, “Some thick sheet of invisible but horribly tangible plate glass is between them and the world”—and “them” might easily refer to the gay community. But just as the phrase, which after all comes from the writings of a black scholar and educator, more strictly applies to prejudice against African Americans, so does the novel, despite its major gay content, document white-black prejudice more than straight-gay prejudice. To be gay and in the U.S. military during World War II was to be relatively at ease with oneself compared to the hatred and bigotry that African Americans experienced.