Wednesday 14 February 2024



In keeping with the times, the term 'Homosexual' has lost its original meaning, which had forced its proponents to stay behind the curtain on pain of severe trauma, both mental and physical. Today, the term is LGBTIQA+ for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, non-binary and pansexual.

The issue of allowing homosexuals in the military has been a major point of contention for those in the armed forces. For some, working with a homosexual will make them feel uncomfortable while for others it is just alright to have homosexuals. Here we will look at some of the issues confronting the so-called umbrella "third sex" as they desire to join the ranks of the military.

Those against having homosexuals in the military believe that the agency will lose its cohesiveness. The life of a soldier is intimate and they do everything together, so for a homosexual, this can be an intimidating experience working with other people who might take advantage of the situation. Likewise, having homosexuals can disrupt the discipline and good morale of the military.

In addition, soldiers who are involved with each other romantically can affect their social and emotional membership in the unit. Their object of obsession is each other and their relationship that they would forget to fulfill their responsibilities to the group. Their devotion to one another will violate the loyalty they pledge to the Army and their co-soldiers.

Aside from that, those against the move to allow homosexuals in the armed forces believe that the military is not like the civil service that offers equal opportunity for all. As far as selection and recruitment, the armed forces are exempted from this principle of providing similar opportunities. The rationale behind the establishment of the institution is to protect the country.

On the other hand, those who are in favour of homosexuals in the military believe that there is a historical basis for allowing them to enter the institution. Likewise, they contend that the military can benefit from the creative minds of homosexuals as far as logistics, strategies, and intelligence is concerned.

Proponents of the move believe that there should be no gender preference when recruiting and selecting potential members of the military. This is an effective solution to control the decreasing number of applicants joining the military. Without the gender preference, the military could expand its recruitment base.

Another contention of those who agree to have homosexuals in the armed forces is because recruitment for the military should be based on qualifications, abilities, skills, and characteristics and not gender. Just because an individual is gay does not mean that they do not possess the necessary skills to perform assigned tasks. So gender should not be an issue in recruitment and selection.

The military should not question the gender of an individual instead they should work on improving the selection process in order to truly determine who can really dedicate their lives for the protection of their state and its people. Loyalty, patriotism, and other requirements needed for the service of the country could not only be fulfilled by males so gender should never be an issue.

A person of authority and rank should not be allowed to take advantage of their superiors just because of their sexual orientation. The institution is a test of stamina as well as one's physical, emotional, and mental skills. As long as an individual, regardless of gender, can fulfill these requirements then there is nothing wrong with having homosexuals in the military.

The Modern Approach

Understanding acceptance and rejection of LGBTIQA+ people lies at the heart of understanding violence, discrimination, and the multitude of negative consequences arising from exclusion and unfair treatment. Sexual and gender minorities all over the world are heavily impacted by the attitudes and beliefs of those around them. Low levels of acceptance are tied to bullying and violence, physical and mental health problems, discrimination in employment, and under-representation in positions of  leadership. 

Updates to the Global Acceptance Index (GAI). Using an advanced statistical model, a study updated the GAI to measure acceptance in 175 countries and geographic locations. Acceptance is the extent to which LGBTIQA+ people are seen in ways that are positive and inclusive, both with respect to an individual’s opinions about LGBTIQA+ people and with regard to an individual’s position on LGBTIQA+ policies. Updates included an expanded database of social surveys that measure attitudes toward LGBTIQA+ people and rights (drawing upon data from AfroBarometer, America’s Barometer, Eurobarometer, European Social Survey, European Values Survey, Gallup World Poll, International Social Survey Programme, Ipsos International, Latinobarómetro, Pew Global surveys, and World Values Surveys); the addition of surveys collecting information pertaining specifically to transgender people, intersex people and rights related to transgender and intersex people; and, left unsaid, modifications to the estimation process to increase estimation accuracy.


Continued Polarisation: Globally, the average level of acceptance has increased since 1980. 

  • 56 of 175 countries and locations experienced increases in acceptance since 1980. 
  • 57 countries and locations experienced a decline. 
  • 62 countries and locations experienced no change. 
  • Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States have all increased their acceptance of LGBTIQA+ people and rights. 
  • In 2020, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada were the most accepting countries. 
  • Countries in Australia and Oceania, North and South America, and Western Europe have had positive changes in their GAI scores since 1990. 

Trends in the GAI in other regions have either not changed over this timeframe or trended slightly downward. In the past decade, the range of levels of acceptance has increased. Levels of acceptance have become less polarised, yet:

  • The most accepting countries have experienced increased levels of acceptance. 
  • The least accepting countries have experienced decreased levels of acceptance. 
  • Levels of acceptance in countries near the global average have stayed relatively stable, though stable attitudes are also present for countries that have long been more accepting and less accepting. 
  • Peru, Mozambique, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Palestine each had very little change in acceptance between 2010 and 2020.

LGBTIQA+ personnel are able to serve in the armed forces of some countries around the world: the vast majority of industrialised, Western countries including some South American countries such as Argentina and Chile in addition to South Africa, and Israel. The rights concerning intersex people are more vague.

This keeps pace with the latest global figures on acceptance of homosexuality, which suggest that acceptance of LGBTIQA+ communities is becoming more widespread only in secular, affluent countries. However, an accepting policy toward gay and lesbian soldiers does not invariably guarantee that LGBTIQA+ citizens are immune to discrimination in that particular society. Even in countries where LGBTIQA+ persons are free to serve in the military, activists lament that there remains room for improvement. Israel, for example, a country that otherwise struggles to implement LGBTIQA+positive social policy, nevertheless has a military well known for its broad acceptance of openly gay soldiers.

History has seen societies that both embrace and shun openly gay service-members in the military. But more recently, the high-profile 2010 hearings on "Don't ask, don't tell" in the United States propelled the issue to the centre of international attention. They also shed light both on the routine discrimination, violence, and hardship faced by LGBTIQA+ identified soldiers, as well as arguments for and against a ban on their service.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the byname for the former official U.S. policy (1993–2011) regarding the service of homosexuals in the military was coined after Clinton signed a law (consisting of statute, regulations, and policy memoranda) in 1993 directing that military personnel “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, and don’t harass.” When it went into effect on October 1, 1993, the policy theoretically lifted a ban on homosexual service that had been instituted during World War II, though in effect it continued a statutory ban. In December 2010 both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to repeal the policy. The policy officially ended on September 20, 2011.

Why Current Policies on Sexual Orientation and Military Service Should Be Repealed

Military success does not depend on service members’ sexual orientation. The USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, and Australia, allow openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons to serve in the military, and this has no adverse effect on military readiness or discipline. In contrast to the 24 countries around the globe that officially welcome gay, lesbian, and bisexual military service members, the U.S. is now in the minority, even in NATO, where only Turkey and Greece have similar prohibition policies.

Some openly gay or lesbian service members have served in the U.S. military with no ill effects. In fact, a stop-loss policy during the Persian Gulf War prevented discharges for homosexuality, strongly suggesting that the U.S. military believed that service by openly gay or lesbian people during wartime was no threat to military effectiveness. Most experts believe that military effectiveness is related to military service members’ shared commitment to a common goal that motivates them to work together to achieve the goal. Leadership of the group is also considered crucial. Sexual orientation is irrelevant to task cohesion, the only type of cohesion that critically predicts the team’s military readiness and success. 

The policy is costly. No useful purpose is served by spending millions of dollars each year to investigate and discharge qualified and patriotic Americans who wish to serve their country. Since the U.S. DADT policy in 1993, about 12,000 lesbian, gay, and bisexual military personnel have been involuntarily discharged solely because of their sexual orientation, at least 8% of whom had mission-critical skills. In a 2005 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, implementing the DADT policy was estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers at least 200 million dollars. However, a 2006 Blue Ribbon Commission that included former Secretary of Defense, William Perry, corrected several calculation errors in this estimate and concluded that the financial cost associated with the DADT policy implementation was much higher than previously estimated, i.e. at least $364 million during its first decade.

Repealing the policy would improve mental health in the military. The military can be a highly stressful environment, especially in wartime. It is important to encourage military personnel to seek mental health services when appropriate in order to promote their well-being and effectiveness. The DADT policy, however, works against effective mental health access for gay, lesbian and bisexual military personnel for at least three reasons. First, workplaces that are not supportive of non-heterosexual orientations are strongly correlated with stress and depression. Second, since disclosure of sexual orientation is officially prohibited, gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members are liable to avoid accessing mental health services when they need them. Third, it is reasonable to assume that forced secrecy and the fear of being exposed as gay, lesbian or bisexual are likely to disproportionally increase anxiety and disrupt optimal performance.

Women and young service members are harmed disproportionally by the policy. Armed forces personnel between 18 and 25 of age, as well as women, are discharged at much higher rates than their respective percentages in the Military. In 2005, 30% of all persons discharged as a result of the DADT policy were women, despite the fact that only 14% of military staff is female (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, 2004). During the year of 2002, 83% of all DADT-related dismissals by the Air Force affected service members below 25 years old, although the staff percentages of this young age group amount to only 35% (Service-members Legal Defense Network, 2003).

Why Repealing the Policy Is Unlikely to Pose a Problem for the US Military

Knowing lesbian, gay or bisexual service members is linked to reduced prejudice toward them. Consistent with a long-standing body of social psychology research based on a contact hypothesis, scientists have repeatedly found evidence for reduced prejudice levels toward gay, lesbian or bisexual people among heterosexuals who are acquainted with openly gay, lesbian or bisexual members of society. The authors of a comprehensive recent meta-analysis of the last six decades of research in this area demonstrate that the correlation of contact between heterosexuals and gay and lesbian persons with lower levels of sexual prejudice is significantly higher than prejudice reduction linked to contact with any other target group, e.g., differing in race or age.

This is reflected in a representative recent survey of military personnel, in which 23% of respondents stated they were certain they worked with a gay or lesbian individual in their military unit. Out of these, 64% reported no adverse consequences for their military unit’s morale and 66% stated that their personal morale was not affected in any way either.

The majority of people in the public, and in the Military, support gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the military. Public opinion polls in recent years have consistently shown that two-thirds of the public, on average, believe that gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members should be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military (CNN, 2007). The percentage of military service members strongly opposed to allowing gay and lesbian persons serve in the military has declined considerably over the last decade, with only 5% of personnel in the military in a 2006 poll stating that they are “very uncomfortable” interacting with gay and lesbian persons in the military, contrasted with 73% who were somewhat or very comfortable in this regard. In 2007, 28 retired generals and admirals issued a letter to Congress, requesting the repeal of the DADT policy, and this perspective was also shared by the then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.

The U.S. military is capable of successfully implementing a change of this sort. The military has proved itself willing, able, and effective in attacking prejudice and stereotypes within its ranks based on race and gender. This experience can and should inform efforts to eliminate barriers based on sexual orientation. Likewise, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) do not discriminate against gay, lesbian or bisexual persons. The experience of these federal agencies and of those American police and fire departments that hire lesbian, bisexual, and gay officers can be drawn upon in implementing the change.

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