(USA) - It was 15 years ago, Tuesday, that President Clinton rolled out the policy that came to be known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which relaxed the long-standing bar against Gay men and women serving in the U.S. military. While the move was initially hailed as progress for the rights of Gays in the military, today many see it as a liability. Her Navy career had been "relatively stress-free" before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" took effect, says Joan Darrah, a retired captain, and a Lesbian, who served in various intelligence billets from 1972 to 2002. She kept her sexual orientation secret during her career, but that denial took its toll after "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" led to increased focus on homosexuality in the ranks.
Note: Read more on Time
(USA) - US Army Sgt. Darren Manzella a medic who served in Iraq and Kuwait, has acknowledged in interviews and again on Tuesday in a Washington news conference that he is Gay. Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said Manzella's case demonstrates the military is arbitrarily enforcing its "don't ask, don't tell" policy now that the country is at war. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibits active-duty service members from openly acknowledging whether they are Gay or Lesbian. A bill to eliminate the military's sexual orientation policy, filed by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., is pending in Congress. Sarvis said the bill is unlikely to get out of committee during this election year, but hearings could be held.
Note: Read more on AP
(USA) - Rose Rollins is defensive about her Tasha. "Attitude? There's a lot more to Tasha than her `attitude,'" Rollins says of the smoldering, secretive soldier she plays on "The L Word." Tasha's troubles started last season, when Rollins joined the show's cast of romantically tangled characters. Tasha quickly fell for out-and-proud Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey), who runs a Lesbian Web site, after accidentally injuring Alice in a brawl. As the relationship deepened, Tasha was cautioned by her commanding officer for openly engaging in 'homosexual conduct.' Meanwhile, Alice and Tasha argued bitterly about the war. On the season premiere, Tasha begins the process of being discharged from the military.
Note: Read more on PageOneQ
(USA) - One of Bill Clinton's first acts as president was to propose that Gay servicemen and women be allowed to serve openly. That was 15 years ago, and it almost derailed his presidency. Instead, the US military adopted a policy called "don't ask, don't tell," where Gays can serve as long as they remain in the closet. The Pentagon says it's been a success. But 12,000 military men and women have been discharged under the policy. Now something curious is happening. As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, discharges of Gay soldiers are dropping, dramatically: from over 1,200 a year in 2001 to barely 600. With the military struggling to fight two wars, there are growing calls to repeal the policy and growing evidence that some commanders could care less about sexual orientation.
Note: Read and watch more on CBS News
(USA) - Former marines Captain Antonio Agnone and Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, both gay men, shared their experiences on Tuesday about serving in Iraq under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy "prohibits anyone who demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts from serving in the armed forces." According to Agnone, more than 12,000 service members have been discharged from the military since 1993 as a direct result of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. "'Don't ask, don't tell' is very ambiguous," said Agnone. "The only benefit of 'don't ask, don't tell' is that you are given an honorable discharge when you come out."
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(UK) - The British Royal Navy suffered a spate of protest resignations by lower-ranking officers after the ban on Gays in the military was lifted, a restricted document obtained by The Times shows. Some soldiers were so reluctant to undress or be exposed in front of Gay comrades that they suggested the provision of homosexual-only showers and lavatories, and straight couples expressed worries that same-sex partners would be allowed to move into family quarters and "influence their children."
Note: Read more on Times online
(USA) - Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, caused a stir at a Senate hearing Wednesday when he said he believes "homosexual activity is immoral and should not be condoned by the military." Anti-war protesters sitting behind Pace jeered the four-star general's remarks, prompting Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to abruptly adjourn the hearing and seal off the doors.
Note: Read more on SF Gate
(USA) - The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) determined Aubrey Sarvis to be the new Executive Director of the organization. Sarvis succeeds C. Dixon Osburn, who stepped down in April. Sarvis will officially take on his position on October 1, 2007. Founded in 1993, SLDN is a US organization dedicated to eradication discrimination against and harassment of military personnel targeted by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and similar forms of intolerance. Sarvis was choosen following an extensive US-wide search by SLDN’s Board of Directors. In accepting the appointment, Sarvis said, “I am humbled and honored to stand side by side with America’s Gay service members, and to help them achieve the full measure of dignity and equality they deserve.” Read more...
(Nepal) - Nepal’s army has stirred up a new controversy by sacking two women because they were flat-chested and accused of being lesbians. The two women, who do not want to be named, have told human rights groups that they were unfairly accused of being lesbians and sacked after being kept in solitary confinement in windowless cells for more than a month. Human rights activists say the dismissals show up the army’s continued disregard of human rights, intolerance towards the sexual minorities and widespread irregularities. Read more...
(Washington, USA) - Admiral Michael Mullen, President Bush’s nominee to succeed General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was questioned about the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel during a Senate hearing Tuesday. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine queried Mullen on the continued dismissal of gay troops under the ban. While confirming that he would implement the current law, Mullen also told Collins that “I really think it is for the American people to come forward, really through this body, to both debate that policy and make changes, if that's appropriate.” Read more...
(UK) - The Ministry of Defence has apologised to all servicemen and servicewomen who suffered persecution and discrimination before the ban on homosexuality was lifted seven years ago. Until 2000, men and women of the Armed Forces were dismissed if it was discovered that they were gay or lesbian. A senior officer responsible for equality training at the MoD has issued an open apology. Wing Commander Phil Sagar, who runs the Armed Forces joint equality and diversity training centre and who advises on government policy, said: “Of course we’re sorry for anyone who has suffered personal trauma.” In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, according to MoD archive documents, the Armed Forces special investigation police targeted suspected gays and lesbians in an official policy to “clean out homosexuals”.
Note: Read full article on Times Online
(USA) - A graduate of the Naval Academy and a nuclear submarine captain, Steve Clark Hall spent his 20-year career fearing he would be found out as gay. Now he is retired and living in San Francisco, and Clark Hall's story is part of an exhibit opening Friday that traces the history of gays and lesbians in the US military -- from World War II to the war in Iraq. Steve Estes, an associate professor of history at Sonoma State University and curator of the exhibition, said he was struck by the power of the veterans' expressions of pride in having served their country despite a ban they found demoralizing. "For the most part, these people were hyper-patriots, even though they had to hide who they were in terms of their sexuality," said Estes.
Note: Read full article on SF Gate
(USA) - A sailor who publicly outed himself as a homosexual has once again been discharged by the Navy, but has once again been given a recall status that could allow him to return to active duty. Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Knight had served as an openly gay man during a yearlong Individual Ready Reserve tour in Kuwait. However, in the latest twist, Knight’s new discharge papers - like his previous discharge papers - do not mention homosexual conduct as the reason for his dismissal. Instead, they cite “completion of required active service.” And they list his recall code as RE-1, with a reserve obligation ending in April 2009. “I can’t do anything but laugh,” Knight said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “It’s getting to the point of being ridiculous.”
Note: Read full article on www.estripes.com
(Washington, USA) - The entire field of eight Democratic presidential candidates indicated their support for repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel during a televised debate on Sunday. The candidates, appearing on CNN, all expressed support for allowing lesbians and gays to serve openly in the armed forces. Read more...
(USA) - The California Senate on Thursday passed a resolution asking the federal government to abandon its discriminatory military policy against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. SJR 6 calls for the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevents LGBT people from serving openly in the military. Senators approved the resolution with a 23-12 vote. Read more...
(Washington, USA) - Legislators who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic language experts because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable specialists go. Seizing on the latest discharge, involving three specialists, House members wrote the House Armed Services Committee chairman on Wednesday that the continued loss of such "capable, highly skilled Arabic linguists continues to compromise our national security during time of war."
Note: Read full article on Canada.com
(UK) - Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears - about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness - have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue.
Note: Read full article on Spiegel
(USA) - Former President Jimmy Carter, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, issued a statement May 15 saying that "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" should be reconsidered. Carter called for the review in an exclusive statement to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. In his statement, the former commander-in-chief of America’s armed forces says, "The nation’s commitment to human rights requires that lawmakers revisit ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the current policy that prevents lesbians, gays and bisexuals from serving openly in our armed forces."
Note: Read full article on www.edgeboston.com
(Washington, USA) - The United States Navy has informed Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight that it intends to fire him under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law just weeks prior to completing his one-year commitment. Knight, an openly gay sailor, was recalled to active duty in June 2006 and recently completed a tour of duty in Kuwait, where he was open about his sexual orientation with his command and fellow sailors. He told his story last weekend in the newspaper Stars & Stripes and he was notified yesterday that he will be receiving an honourable discharge from the Navy based, in part, on his recent media interviews. Read more...
(USA) - It was one of life's pinch-me-is-this-really-happening moments: Dixon Osburn, co-founder of the nation's leading group to lift the ban on openly gay troops, was still at the office at 7 o'clock one evening and noticed a fax coming through. It read simply: "I am an admiral. I am gay. How can I help?"
Note: Read full article on www.detnews.com
(Washington, USA) - US Senator John McCain, a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has reiterated his support for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. In an April 16 letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), McCain says the law, passed in 1993, "unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion and discipline." Read more...
(USA) - Gay troops should be able to serve in the U.S. military without hiding their sexual identity, Sen. Hillary Clinton said here Sunday. Clinton said it's time to drop the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which began when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president. The policy says that gays may serve in the military if they keep their homosexuality secret but that they can be tossed out if they don't.
Note: Read full article on desmoinesregister.com
(UK) - The first transsexual officer in the Armed Forces has been fired and is taking legal action against her employers for sexual discrimination. Jan Hamilton, a former male captain in the Parachute Regiment who now lives as a woman, was due to become head of media operations for the British Army in Gibraltar this month but was informed by letter that the job offer had been withdrawn.
Note: The story is in the Evening Standard
Previous story: Things Are Working Out For TG Paratrooper
(UK) - A transgender British paratrooper who's making the transition from male to female has been overwhelmed by the support that's poured in since the story first broke last week. Jan Hamilton-- formerly Capt. Ian Hamilton-- says that she's been assured that her job with the Army is safe.
Note: The story is in the Daily Mail
See previous story: Going From 'Capt. Ian' to 'Jan'
(UK) - While the US military squirms over silly policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, one British Paratrooper has done something extraordinary: in the last few months, Captain Ian Hamilton has all but finished a transition from male to female. Now Jan just has to figure out how to break the news to the Army.
Note: The details are in the Daily Mail
(USA) - Jersey City resident Corey Andrew, like thousands of other job seekers, recently posted his profile on a popular career-based web site, hoping to nab some work as a copywriter. ...The posting on CareerBuilder.com brought several potential suitors, including an Army recruiter who replied in late February ...with a bizarre three-day exchange [that] escalat[ed] into a bigoted tirade from the recruiter and an official military investigation.
Note: Read the details in the Jersey Journal
How much harm do gays and lesbians really cause in the ranks of the military? Not much, it turns out. Judging by the latest discharge figures, the military's real policy goes like this: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- Just Keep Fighting!" Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made more news than he wanted to last week when he called homosexual acts "immoral".... [A] less ballyhooed news development that week: The release of the latest Pentagon figures on how many service personnel actually have been discharged for reasons connected to their being gay or lesbian. Read more...
(Washington) - In what is believed to be a first, the White House last week acknowledged gay service members in the wake of homophobic comments made by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace. Dan Bartlett, counselor to the president, was asked last week what message Pace's comments sent to gay service members serving in Iraq. He replied, "The president appreciates the sacrifice and service of every service member, and what they're doing on a daily basis to improve the situation."
Note: Read the rest in the Bay Area Reporter
Pace in Italian means Peace. His last name is only one irony. The fact that he, an accomplice to the military assault and occupation of Iraq, classifies erotic love between two human-beings of the same sex as immoral redefines the concept of irony. It's more than a cruel irony - it's epic. Read more...
(Washington, USA) - A group of seven high-ranking US military veterans today responded to recent remarks by General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who earlier this week called lesbian, gay and bisexual service members ‘immoral’ and re-iterated his support for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. The officers, who are all lesbian or gay, called on Congress to repeal the law, and demanded that General Pace apologise for his remarks. Read more...
(USA) - The number of troops dismissed last year is less than half the total number of discharges in the year preceding the Sept. 11th 2001 terrorist attacks. The US Department of Defence dismissed 612 service members last year under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel, Pentagon officials confirmed late Tuesday evening.
Note: Read full article on www.pinknews.co.uk
(Washington, USA) - The Pentagon's top general expressed regret Tuesday that he called homosexuality immoral, a remark that drew a harsh condemnation from members of Congress and gay advocacy groups. In a statement Tuesday, he said he should have focused more in the interview on the Defense Department policy about gays _ and "less on my personal moral views." He did not offer an apology, something that had been demanded by gay rights groups.
Note: Read full article on www.washingtonpost.com
(USA) - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday he considers homosexuality to be immoral and the military should not condone it by allowing gay soldiers to serve openly, the Chicago Tribune reported. Marine Gen. Peter Pace likened homosexuality to adultery, which he said was also immoral, the newspaper reported on its Web site. The newspaper said Pace did not address concerns raised by a 2005 government audit that showed some 10,000 troops, including more than 50 specialists in Arabic, have been discharged because of the policy. Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., has introduced legislation to reverse the military’s ban on openly serving homosexuals.
Note: Read full article on www.armytimes.com
(Boston, USA) - The First Circuit (a federal appeals court in Boston) heard oral arguments today in an appeal filed by veterans dismissed under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. The veterans, who all served during the current war on terror, asked the Court to reverse a lower court ruling dismissing their constitutional challenge to the law. The lawsuit, Cook v. Gates, was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and the law firm of WilmerHale. Read more...
(Washington, USA) - Foes of the military's ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy on gays hope for better results in their efforts to repeal it in the new Democratic-run Congress. Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., on Wednesday revived legislation aimed at forcing the military to eliminate the policy preventing homosexual service members from being open about their orientation. Meehan said he expects the House Armed Services panel to hold hearings on the issue. He filed a similar measure that failed in the previous Congress, which was controlled by Republicans. That bill had more than 120 co-sponsors, including six Republicans. The new measure has 109 co-sponsors.
Note: Read full article on www.guardian.co.uk
(Santa Barbara, USA) - In the wake of announcements that Congressman Marty Meehan will re-introduce legislation to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" this week, observers are debating the future of the gays-in-the-military issue in Congress. Last year, Representative Meehan, a Democrat from Massachusetts, garnered the support of 122 representatives for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, but Republican leaders failed to move it to a vote.
Note: Read full article on www.bgay.com
Most homosexuals who join the military are characterised by a strong mental and emotional identification with straight culture. They personify a particular type of assimilationist gay person. To serve in the armed forces involves conforming to the rules of a quintessentially straight institution. Demanding more than mere integration, it requires collusion with a military system that actively discriminates against queers. To be complicit with this institution necessitates a hetero mind-set. That is why the majority of lesbian and gay soldiers are invariably straight-thinking, and straight-acting. Infatuated with all things heterosexual, they often want to be straight, or at least to pass for straight. These 'hetero homos' aspire to be like straight people and to be liked by them.
Note: Read full article on www.petertatchell.net.
Note by the editor: This is an older article, but it is still up-to-date.
(USA) - Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili has had a change of heart about gays in the military. Shalikashvili, who was the top military man when President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy became law in 1993, wrote in a recent New York Times editorial that he was convinced by gay service members that "don't tell" can disappear.
Note: Read full article on CNN
(USA) - The federal First Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on March 7 in Cook v. Gates (formerly Cook v. Rumsfeld), a constitutional challenge to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. The lawsuit, originally filed in December 2004 on behalf of veterans dismissed under the law, seeks the plaintiffs' re-instatement in the armed forces and the end of the ban on open service.
Note: Read full article on www.247gay.com
(Billings, USA) - An openly gay Missoula, Montana police officer is taking a one year leave of absence to help train Afghanistan's National Police Force. Scott Oak, who serves as Missoula's liaison to the city's LGBT community tells the Billings Gazette he was approached by the State Department after seeing press coverage of his appointment as the city's first liaison officer.
Note: Read full article on 365gay.com
(USA) - Plaudits are due retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for dropping his opposition to the Pentagon's wrongheaded "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans openly gay people from serving in the military. In an opinion piece in Tuesday's New York Times, Shalikashvili wrote that he changed his mind after meeting with gay servicemen. "These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers," he wrote.
Note: Read full article on www.dfw.com
Two weeks ago, President Bush called for a long-term plan to increase the size of the armed forces. As our leaders consider various options for carrying out Mr. Bush’s vision, one issue likely to generate fierce debate is “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that bars openly gay service members from the military. Indeed, leaders in the new Congress are planning to re-introduce a bill to repeal the policy next year.
Note: Read full article on www.nytimes.com
(WASHINGTON, USA) - U.S. military personnel are increasingly comfortable serving with openly gay colleagues, a new poll has revealed. The poll released today by Zogby International and the Michael D. Palm Center, reveals that 73% of military members are comfortable with lesbians and gays. Nearly one in four (23%) service members report knowing for sure that someone in their unit is lesbian or gay, including 21% of those in combat units.
Note: Read full article on UK Gay News
(WASHINGTON, USA) - The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is calling on President Bush and the White House to reconsider the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in the wake of the Iraq Study Group report. Warning that “all of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans’ lack of language and cultural understanding,” the Iraq Study Group, a panel of ten bi-partisan experts convened to examine military strategy in the war in Iraq, emphasized in a report this week the importance of recruiting and retaining language experts.
Note: Read full article on UK Gay News
(Bangkok, Thailand) - The Thai military said today it will no longer define gays, transvestites and transsexuals as mentally ill, although it said it will not accept any such people into the armed services.
Note: Read full article on www.bangkokpost.com
(BOSTON, USA) - Ten of the US leading constitutional law experts have told a federal court that it should grant an appeal of a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the ban on gays serving openly in the military. The professors, including Akhil Reed Amar of Yale Law School, Andrew Koppelman, a Professor of Law at Northwestern Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School and Kathleen M. Sullivan the former Dean at Stanford Law School, filed a brief Monday in support of twelve military veterans battling DADT.
Note: Read full article on 365gay.com
(WASHINGTON, USA) - Two leading House Democrats said yesterday that they intend to reverse the 13-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays and lesbians in the military when Congress comes under Democratic control in January. Representative Martin T. Meehan, a Lowell Democrat, said he plans to hold congressional hearings early next year of the House Armed Services Subcommittee, which he is likely to chair, on a bill that would allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces.
Note: Read full article on www.boston.com