Gays And Lesbians At War

Gays and Lesbians at War: Military Service in Iraq and Afghanistan Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

September 1, 2004
Nathaniel Frank
Palm Center Whitepaper

Click here for a pdf version of this report.

This study evaluates the impact of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on the capacity of gay troops to perform their duties as part of an effective military force. 

This study evaluates the impact of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on the capacity of gay troops to perform their duties as part of an effective military force.   read more »

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Bring New Faces to the DADT debate


I had the opportunity to attend a special presentation of the Brave New Foundation's latest installation of the In Their Boots series, the documentary short Silent Partners (Thursday, July 16, 2009, Backstage Theater at Sony Pictures, LA). The screening featured a discussion with Dan Choi, a West Point-trained former infantry officer and Julianne Sohn, a former marine, each discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, as well as Jake Diliberto, a self-described evangelical straight ally and Brian Baker, an Episcopal minister, military veteran, and West Point graduate.  read more »

Research Note on Pentagon Practice of Sending Known Gays and Lesbians to War

Stop Loss
July 1, 2007
Nathaniel Frank, Senior Research Fellow
Palm Center

Click here to download the paper in its entirety.


I. Overview of Stop-Loss
II. Summary of Available Evidence from World War II to the Present
III. Brief History of Known Gays Serving During Wartime
IV. Current Discharge Figures

This paper presents an overview of Stop-Loss, provides a summary of available evidence from World War II to 2002 including a history of known gays serving during wartime, and includes discharge figues of the time.  read more »

Attitudes of Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Toward Gay and Lesbian Service Members

October 29, 2009
Bonnie Moradi, Laura Miller
Armed Forces & Society

Click here, to read the full manuscript as published in "Armed Forces and Society."


U.S. policy banning openly gay and lesbian personnel from serving in its military rests on the belief that heterosexual discomfort with lesbian and gay service members in an integrated environment would degrade unit cohesion and readiness. To inform this policy, data from a 2006 survey of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were analyzed in this study. Views of these war veterans were consistent with prior surveys of military personnel showing declining support for the policy: from about 75 percent in 1993 to 40 percent in this survey. Among the demographic and military experience variables analyzed, comfort level with lesbian and gay people was the strongest correlate of attitudes toward the ban. War veterans indicated that the strongest argument against the ban is that sexual orientation is unrelated to job performance, and that the strongest argument in favor of the ban is a projected negative impact on unit cohesion. However, analyses of these war veterans’ ratings of unit cohesion and readiness revealed that knowing a gay or lesbian unit member was not associated uniquely with cohesion or readiness; instead, the quality of leaders, equipment, and training were the critical factors associated with unit cohesion and readiness.

This paper was first published by the Palm Center in July, 2009.

This paper presents additional analysis of the 2006 Zogby Poll commissioned by the Palm Center.  Data indicated no associations between knowing a lesbian or gay unit member and ratings of perceived unit cohesion or readiness.  read more »

Does “don’t ask, don’t tell” impact transgender service members?


Yes, it does.

That was one of the findings from a unique and timely survey conducted by the Transgender American Veteran’s Association [TAVA] and analyzed in August by Palm Center researchers.  read more »

Performance Brings Attention to Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military

Pat Payne's performance, “Crawl,” directly addresses recent GAO and Veteran Affairs data on rape and sexual assault in the military, but it also speaks to "don't ask, don't tell."

Black Women Disproportionately Impacted by “don’t ask, don’t tell.”


African American women make up less than one percent of servicemembers, while they comprise 3.3% of those discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. 


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Only four Ivy League schools allow ROTC on campus. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy is given as one reason for barring ROTC from college campuses. Obama and McCain have called on universities to rethink their position.

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"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Gender Violence


There is one arena where apparently opponents of gay service and advocates of openly gay service agree. That is on the seriousness and prevalence of sexual and gender violence in the military.  read more »

Three More Gay Arabic Linguists Gone

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