In 1968, Deacon Maccubbin quit the U.S. Army.
He’d been stationed in Virginia with the National Guard while the movement against the Vietnam War reached a fever pitch. The Norfolk native started to feel guilty donning his uniform, knowing young men were dying in droves for an absurd cause. So Maccubbin burned his military papers. He spent a little under a year at Fort Belvoir, plotting his return to a civilian life guided by activism.
“I told them I was gay,” says the 73-year-old Dupont Circle resident, whose closet door came “flying off” when he was 28. “You could do that and they would sometimes discharge you.”
It worked. In 1969, Maccubbin came to D.C. on what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. He found an affordable boarding house about a block from the circle and fell in love with the city. Gay political groups and bars had taken root; anti-war and civil-rights demonstrations abounded.
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