Serving in the military is for many the most honored position they will hold in their lifetime. Many dedicate their entire lives to serving their country. For some soldiers however their dream of proudly serving their country was cut short because they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. America’s attitude towards acceptance of homosexuals has continued to grow over the past couple of decades, but full acceptance and equality is still far off. Nowhere are attitudes towards homosexuality more conservative than in the U.S. military, yet even here attitudes are slowly evolving towards acceptance and equality. Gays and lesbians were banned from serving in the military until 1992 when President Clinton signed into law “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”,
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The DADT policy is harmful to service members because it creates a culture in which to be homosexual is made to be so culturally taboo that no one can even speak about it. Gay and lesbian service members are forced to lie about their identity, which creates for them a hostile and uncomfortable atmosphere where every day they hope to not be found out. In addition the DADT policy works to further ingrain negative ideas about homosexuals since the policy works to suppress them.
American attitudes towards gays and lesbians are slowly changing. A 2009 Gallup poll revealed that 69% of Americans support having gays and lesbians serve openly in the military. The thought behind DADT was that it would lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve in the military with relative ease, yet that has not been the case. Instead the policy has created a “climate of fear” for those who are gay and led to numerous instances of bullying (Ottawa 2011). According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen “In recent years, Canadian courts have heard from gay U.S. soldiers seeking asylum in Canada about taunts, threats and, in one case, even a death threat."Don't ask, don't tell" put victims of bullying within the U.S. military in a position in which they feared losing their careers if they reported such actions” (2011). Not allowing gay members of the military to serve openly is itself a disruption to the unity and cohesion of a unit.
Joseph Rocha, a former