Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gays in the military around the world

First of all before writing anything else, let me tell you that this blog will continue to advocate for an end to DADT - the only change is we are ending the count of days, since it really served no purpose. We were counting the number of days of our participation, not any kind of official number regarding the military or the ridiculous DADT policy.

Most Western military forces have now removed policies excluding sexual minority members. Of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, more than 20 permit open lesbians, gays, or bisexuals to serve and of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, two (United Kingdom and France) do so. China bans gays and lesbians outright and Russia excludes all gays and lesbians during peacetime but allows some gay men to serve in wartime.

In Canada, the decision was made way back in 1992 to allow homosexuals to serve openly in its armed forces, and studies show that indeed, military performance has not declined. The percent of military women who experienced sexual harassment dropped 46% after the ban was lifted. While there were several reasons why harassment declined, one factor was that after the ban was lifted women were free to report assaults without fear that they would be accused of being a lesbian. Before Canada lifted its gay ban, a 1985 survey of 6,500 male soldiers found that 62% said that they would refuse to share showers, undress or sleep in the same room as a gay soldier. After the ban was lifted, follow-up studies found no increase in disciplinary, performance, recruitment, sexual misconduct, or resignation problems.

Here in the United States we are technically permitted to serve, but only in secrecy and celibacy. We have to lie and hide! I say “be honest about who you are! Don’t hide.” (I seem to have seen that message on a shirt somewhere).

What is the reason for this Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy? Well it was originally designed to help us, believe it or not! It was a blunder from day one though and has caused nothing but problems! The time has come (long ago) for DADT to be repealed!

Recently I met (via the internet) some gay men who serve in other countries. The have been reading this and urge me to continue writing. I will!

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