“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Closeted in the Military
Group Members Kelly Cooke Lisa Giencke Natalie Harry Michelle Klemens Cheryl Thompson
Fact or Fiction? T/F: LGBTQ people cannot serve in the U.S. military. False. Under the DADT policy, LGBTQ people may serve provided they do not disclose their sexual orientation, either verbally or by action.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: The DADT policy is in line with other countries of similar democratic, economic and social justice policies. False. Other countries, such as Canada, Australia and much of Western Europe, allow LGBTQ people to serve openly.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: Since the DADT policy was enacted in 1994, discharges of sexual minorities have steadily decreased. False. Discharges have risen, except for last year, which may be due to the recently instated stop-loss order.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: Many LGBTQ people serve their country honorably. True. Service members serve in silence despite opposition from the government, fellow military personnel and the civilians they protect.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: The DADT policy was designed to protect privacy and to strengthen unit cohesion and effectiveness. True. The DADT policy was formed because of beliefs about LGBTQ effects on unit cohesion and “modesty rights for straights.”
Fact or Fiction? T/F: Allowing LGBTQ people to serve adversely affects military strength and unit cohesion. False. Unit cohesion is a result, not pre- requisite, of working close together, and stems from focus on the task.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: Of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, the Marines have the lowest annual homosexual discharge rate. True. The Marines regularly have the lowest annual discharge rate for LGBTQ service members.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: The DADT policy has effectively ended harassment of LGBTQ service members. False. Incidences and tolerance of harassment have decreased, but the DADT policy has not ended it.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: Although LGBTQ service members may be discharged, a statement of sexuality does not guarantee discharge. True. Some service members are discharged against their will, while others are retained against their will.
Fact or Fiction? T/F: Although sexual minorities can be discharged, they can’t be criminally charged for “inappropriate” behavior. False. Unfortunately, some actions are still considered criminal offenses and are punishable by military law.
Brief Historical Overview LGBTQ Regulations in the Military
Policy Prior to WWII LGBTQ regulations were left up to individual commands. Gay military personnel were both discharged and allowed to serve. Gotthold Frederich Enslin
Policy Prior to WWII Articles of War of 1916 listed sodomy as an offence punishable by court martial. Psychological Measurements of Homosexuality.
WWII Policies Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 listed “categories of handicaps.” In 1942, Army leaders differentiated between homosexual and “normal” individuals. Medicalization of Homosexuality & Rehabilitation.
Policies after WWII In 1949, the Department of Defense distributed a memo unifying the military services’ regulations relating to homosexuality. Uniform Code of Military Justice
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy Policy instated under the Clinton Administration. Department of Defense concludes that homosexuality- –Interferes with combat effectiveness. –Destroys unit cohesion and morale.
Further Readings….. Berube, A. Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two. New York: The Free Press, 1990. Burg, B. R. Gay Warriors: A Documentary History from the Ancient World to the Present. New York: New York University Press, 2002. Evans, R. U.S Military Policies Concerning Homosexuals: Development, Implementation and Outcomes. Report Prepared For: The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, University of California at Santa Barbara
Why Sexual Minorities Join the Military Desire to defend one’s country. Money for education. Deny homosexuality to self or family. For structure and discipline.
What Would You Do? Possible Scenarios An Interactive Discussion
Keep Sexual Identity a Secret You will need to live in secret and, to be safe, at some distance from base. You will not be able to discuss your sexual orientation with coworkers. Denying who you really are may lead to isolation and loneliness.
Keep Sexual Identity a Secret Military personnel who are supposed to be safe, like chaplains, may turn you in. If you are caught touching, kissing or holding hands with someone of the same sex, you could be jailed and/or fined.
Keep Sexual Identity a Secret While deployed, you will have to censor communication in case it is screened. If someone finds out, you may be subject to harassment and humiliation while your leadership abilities are undermined.
Be Openly LGBTQ, Don’t Issue a Statement In theory, no one has the right to ask about your sexual orientation. The level of tolerance of peers depends on your branch and under whose command, and where you are stationed.
Be Openly LGBTQ, Don’t Issue a Statement If people know, you are potentially at a greater risk of harassment or violence. You have a greater risk of being discharged from service.
Issue Statement to Your Command You run the risk of NOT being discharged. Continued service may lead to harassment and ruin your chance of promotion. Command may use scare tactics to obtain “proof.”
Issue Statement to Your Command Scare tactics could persuade you to accept a General or Other than Honorable Discharge, which will make you ineligible for VA benefits. You may have to pay back money paid for your training and/or education.
Physical or Mental Disability Discharge You will be thoroughly investigated by a military doctor or psychologist. People may begin to “speculate” about you. If your reasons are not judged valid, you will remain in the military.
Physical or Mental Disability Discharge You may be required to pay back money that has been paid for your training, education and other financial benefits. The process of faking an injury or mental illness will not be easy or without its own humiliations.
Personal Accounts Enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in 1998. Completed 13 weeks of boot camp, Marine Combat Training and 6 months of Military Occupation Specialty school.
Personal Accounts While at the Armed Forces School of Music, saw firsthand the harassment and oppression of lesbian roommate. Stationed at Camp LeJeune as one of only two female drummers for the Marine Corps
Personal Accounts Was awarded NROTC-Marine Option Scholarship. Contacted SLDN Issued written statement of sexual orientation in December 2002.
Personal Accounts I, Sarah M. Klemens, am a lesbian. Core values of honor, courage and commitment. Effectiveness of leadership.
Personal Accounts Transitioning into the LGBTQ community.
What about BTQ? Bisexual Issues Transgender and Transsexual Issues –Medical examinations –Personality disorder Queer Issues
Operation FREEDOM Foundation for Rights and Equality- An End to Discrimination And Oppression in the Military
Operation Freedom Op-Free comprises a group of concerned advocates working against the oppressive nature of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Operation FREEDOM Op-Free recognizes the life-altering reality that sexual minorities face when being discharged from the military. Op-Free is dedicated to supporting such sexual minorities who are transitioning into the LGBTQ community.
Mission of the Group To provide support to discharged sexual minorities through acceptance into a wide-ranging community of peers. To endow former military personnel with opportunities such as attending LGBTQ- themed workshops and seminars.
Mission of the Group To establish LGBTQ academic scholarships for former military personnel. To create public education programs about the military’s and institutionalized discrimination.
Values of the Group To embrace diversity in all its forms To recognize courage and leadership To behave responsibly as advocates of human rights
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