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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Military Service

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The public has different opinions about the acceptance and rejection of homosexuality in our social life. Same way in the military also, this topic has provoked hot debate. Military life is somewhat different from social life. It is difficult for military personnel to lead a life as he likes even though he fights for the safety and security of the country for many years. While the issue of homosexuals in the military has only lately become a point of great public debate, it is not a new issue; it derives its roots from the time of the military's beginning.

Reports in the media over the last several years have stated that since the implementation of the “ don’ t ask, don’ t tell” policy in 1993, the number of discharges for homosexuality has increased. According to data provided by the Department of Defense (DOD), from the early 1980s until Fiscal Year (FY) 1994, the number of personnel discharged for homosexual conduct (including statements) decreased. From FY1995 to FY2001, the numbers rebounded, only to begin leveling off thereafter. In April 1998, the Department of Defense released a review of the implementation of the “ Policy on Homosexual Conduct. ” This review was instituted after complaints were aired that the increasing rate of discharges was a sign of “ witch hunts” or anti-homosexual harassment (Burrelli and Feder, p.5).

Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) is the common term used in the American military to restrict or prohibit homosexuality in the American military. This principle prohibits anyone who exhibits an intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States. According to the US military principles, homosexuality would affect the cohesion of the military personnel and it can create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order, and discipline.

Cohesion and cooperation among the soldiers are essential for the smooth functioning of a military. Two types of people with respect to sexuality in the military can create a lot of conflicts and clashes among the military personnel and hence homosexuality was avoided in US military.

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