Monday, July 12, 2010

Another War Wound for LGBTQ Community in the Military

In an effort to fully accept openly-gay soldiers into the military, the Pentagon announced last week that it has sent (via email) a confidential survey to over 400,000 active and reserve troops regarding gays in the military.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Charman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and the House have all supported the movement to end the ban against openly gay/lesbian soldiers in the military. Despite this support, the military kicked out over 400 soldiers last year in the midst of two debilitating wars.

The survey contains 100 questions such as: "If 'Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is repealed and you are working with a service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would it affect your immediate unit’s effectiveness at completing its mission?” The soldiers can respond by checking six different multiple choice answers ranging from “very positively” to “very negatively.”

Many gay rights organizations, such as The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, have denounced the survey of unnecessarily classifying “homosexuals” as secondary citizens. Director Aubrey Sarvis rightly points out: “Surveying the troops is unprecedented- it did not happen in 1948 when President Truman ended segregation and it did not happen in 1976 when the service academies opened to women.” So why now? What does this survey mean to the LGBTQ community serving in the military?

Check out the Time article, "A Brief History of Gays in the Military" for further context.

Check out past Choices Campus Blog to see how Don't Ask Don't Tell disproportionately affects women and what you can do about it.

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