Volume 2, Issue 3 - Fall 2008

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • WORKING GROUP OF RETIRED GENERAL/FLAG OFFICERS CONDEMNS GAY BAN
  • NEW DATA ON TRANSGENDER VETERANS FINDS DISCRIMINATION
  • BRITISH ARMY TO ALLOW UNIFORMED SOLDIERS TO MARCH IN GAY PRIDE PARADE
  • PALM SCHOLAR PRESENTS FINDINGS TO AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
  • PALM CENTER LAUNCHED "BLUEPRINTS" BLOG AND JOINS WEB 2.0
  • FELLOWSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT NEWS

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WORKING GROUP OF RETIRED GENERAL/FLAG OFFICERS CONDEMNS GAY BAN
A bipartisan team of retired senior officers from all four branches of the U.S. military has concluded that the ban on openly gay service members harms military readiness and should end.

Study group members, who included a retired three-star Admiral, threestar Army general, three-star Air Force General, and one-star Marine Corps General, held hearings in Washington and took testimony from senior defense officials in the Bush and Clinton administrations, scholarlY experts on military personnel policy, and service members who served recently i n Iraq and Afghanistan.

They found that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prevents some gay troops from performing their duties, that tolerance of homosexuality in the military has grown dramatically, and that lifting the ban is "unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline, or cohesion."

The study group's report marks the first time a Marine Corps general has ever called publicly for an end to the gay ban. "I believe this should have been done much earlier," said Brigadier General Hugh Aitken, USMC (Ret.), one of the authors of the report.

The report garnered national media attention including 117 television and radio broadcasts, a Washington Post editorial, and an Associated Press story that was published by newspapers throughout the U.S.

NEW DATA ON TRANSGENDER VETERANS FINDS DISCRIMINATION
New figures released in August by the Transgender American Veterans Association [TAVA] reveal that transgender service members and veterans, like many transgender people in the U.S., face a variety of forms of discrimination based on their transgender status. The survey of 827 U.S. military veterans and active-duty personnel is among the first quantitative studies of transgender people in the military.

A Palm Center analysis of the TAVA data showed that over a third of survey respondents reported some form of discrimination in the workplace while 10 percent were turned away from VA hospitals due to being transgender.

Among those who served under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, one in five was questioned about their sexual orientation, a violation of military policy. Nearly two thirds reported that peers were suspicious of their sexual identity. Pre-transition transmen were twice as likely as pre-transition transwomen to report suspicions about their sexual identity. Dr. Jeanne Scheper, Research Director of the Palm Center, said that "the survey adds to the growing evidence that the impact of the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy varies by gender," and corroborates recent Pentagon data that show women are disproportionately affected by the ban on openly gay service.

BRITISH ARMY ALLOWS UNIFORMED SOLDIERS TO MARCH IN GAY PRIDE PARADE
The British Ministry of Defense allowed its soldiers to march in uniform in London's July 5th, Gay Pride parade. The move ends a ban on British Army personnel wearing uniforms in the parade and brings the Army and Air Force into line with the Royal Navy. Britain lifted its long-standing ban on gays in the military in 2000 after a European court decision on the matter. Read about Britain's history of integrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender service members in the research section of our web page.

PALM SCHOLAR PRESENTS FINDINGS TO AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
Affiliated Scholar Dr. Bonnie Moradi presented findings at the APA's annual conference in Boston. Her presentation was titled, "Workplace Sexual Identity Management Strategies of LGBT Former Military Personnel" and she was joined by Anthony Sarkees and Cirleen DeBlaere of the University of Florida. Professor Moradi's analysis of survey responses from 443 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender former U.S. service members indicates that respondents manage their identities in the military environment by using three strategies. They use moderate levels of passing behaviors (concealing one's identity), low levels of disclosing behaviors (acknowledging one's identity to peers), and moderate levels of LGB-affirming behaviors (e.g., speaking out against jokes/slurs/discrimination).

PALM CENTER LAUNCHES "Blueprints" BLOG AND JOINS WEB 2.0
The Palm Center launched a website at the end of September with a new look, better search features, and "Blueprints: The Palm Center Blog." Look for updates, information, and opinions on the website, and become a Palm Center supporter or fan on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube (search: thepalmcenter).

FELLOWSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT NEWS

The Palm Center is pleased to be able to support the following projects: Eric R. A. N. Smith, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Alison Keleher, of the California State University, San Luis Obispo, for their presentation on "Explaining the Growing Support for Gay and Lesbian Equality Since 1990" at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association; Jessi Gan, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for research at the Bentley Historical Library in the Elaine Donnelly papers.

The Palm Center is honored to have received the following major gifts: $50,000 from The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and $55,272 from The Wells Fargo Foundation.