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OutServe Magazine | April 23, 2015

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Weekly News Roll-Up September 18 – 24

Weekly News Roll-Up September 18 – 24
Shaun Knittel

By Shaun Knittel
Online News Editor

Last week, OutServe joined millions of Americans to observe the first anniversary of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. There was much to celebrate: A new study had just been released saying repeal had no negative impact and in August, Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith became the first openly gay general officer. This week, we take a look at the two groups left out of DADT repeal. Currently, transgender people are not permitted to join the armed forces and the men and women that were kicked out earlier to, and during DADT continue to live with the stigma of being booted out of the service because of a “homosexual act.” Here’s a look at those stories and other news items that helped to shape the lives of LGBT service members during the week of September 18 – 24:


Yale University welcomed the Air Force and Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps detachments on September 21 after a decades-long absence.

“It’s a historic event for our militaries and it’s a historic event for our nation,” David S. Fadok, commander and president of Air University, an umbrella of Air Force leadership training programs, told the Associated Press.

ROTC hasn’t had a presence at Yale since the Vietnam War era. Yale officials said the prestigious university bought the ROTC units back to campus this fall because Congress voted to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

According to the AP, the return of the ROTC renews a long military tradition at Yale. The inventor David Bushnell is credited with creating the first submarine ever used in combat while studying at Yale in 1775, and one of the original six Naval ROTC units was established at the university in 1926.

Read the full story at Newsday.


U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (WI-1), said this weekend that the military’s ban on out gay, lesbian and bisexual service is “done … [a]nd, I think we need to move on.”

“Now that it’s done,” Ryan told WPTV NewChannel 5 in Miami over the weekend, adding, “we should not reverse it.”

Ryan, the Republican Party Vice-presidential nominee, voted against repeal in 2010.

According to BuzzFeed, Mitt Romney said in 2011 that he isn’t “planning on reversing” the end of DADT but his campaign refused to say whether he agrees with his running mate that the issue of repeal is “done.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.


Despite the repeal of DADT, a medical regulatory ban remains in place for people who identify as transgender.

According to Metro Weekly, evidence of transition therapy is grounds for disqualification for potential recruits. So is openly identifying as transgender – which the Pentagon considers a psychiatric condition.

According to the report, transgender veterans who transition after leaving the armed forces face other obstacles as well. Some transgender veterans who seek to change the name on their DD-214 form (standard paperwork a service member receives upon discharge from the military), which is used to secure veteran benefits, are not always successful in doing so.

The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a directive in June 2011 providing health care for some transgender medical needs, such as hormone treatments, but the VA does not provide sex-reassignment surgery.

Read the full story at Metro Weekly.


On September 19, 2011 – the eve of DADT repeal – U.S. airman Randy Phillips came out to his dad and essentially to the world in an emotional call on YouTube that went viral. On September 22, MSNBC aired an interview where they talked to Phillips about his life in the military now. Watch the video on


On September 24, Colorado College Economics and Business Associated Professor James Parco and David A. Levy, a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, released a study that found DADT created deep contradictions in the U.S. military.

Military culture — but not military leadership — had already moved towards accepting lesbians, gays, bisexual and “queer-identifying” service members long before the repeal last year DADT, according to “Policy and Paradox: Grounded Theory at the Moment of DADT Repeal.”

Still, the policy damaged lives and careers over its 18-year history, the study notes.

Levy interviewed 17 active-duty service members within weeks of the repeal, and followed up with many of them in extensive interviews in August.

The study is the first academic research on the impacts of the policy on service members “at the moment of repeal,” Parco said.

Earlier studies were not possible because the policy could have ended the careers of service members who admitted they were not heterosexual.

In lengthy interviews, the study participants told Parco and Levy that they lived double lives, suffered harassment and depression, and found their careers damaged because of DADT. Some told the authors of attempted suicides, rape, fake marriages, problems with alcohol, blackmail and other coercion.

“It’s just, it’s awful and it messes with your integrity and it messes with you as a human being and who you are,” one service member, a woman, told the authors, who interviewed men and women ages 19 to 43 from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Enlisted members, cadets and officers were included.

Out of these interviews and other research, Parco and Levy found five “irreconcilable contradictions” in the DADT policy.

The values contradiction. “Integrity is not an option,” they write, because all in the service were forced to sacrifice their values. Gay service members who served under the policy sacrificed their integrity by lying about their status to remain in the service. Officers who supported them also “were forced to sacrifice their values of obedience and loyalty to the institution” when they ignored suspected behavior. “The policy created a significant conflict for commanders who tried to maintain the integrity of the institution and simultaneously preserve their own,” they write.

The wartime contradiction. The policy held that LGBQ service members impaired combat capability. But many gay service members had critical skills that were needed in wartime. An example is the case of the Arabic linguists who were discharged under the DADT policy in 2004. In other cases, commanders defied the policy by refusing to discharge openly gay service members who were needed for the war effort.

The Heroism Contradiction. Many in the study were heroes, having earned decorations and medals, and had joined the military for patriotic reasons. However, the message under DADT was “very clear: ‘If you are gay, you cannot be a hero, even if you were, and if we find out about it, we will throw you out of our ranks,’” the authors write.

The control contradiction. Military leaders had argued that their ability to control behavior would be hurt by gays serving openly, but that ability to control also led to the success of DADT repeal. “[Repeal] happened without issue because of the tremendous control military leaders have over personnel, gay and straight, who tend to behave anyway,” the authors write.

The Silence Contradiction. The policy persisted because it took voices away from everyone. “DADT didn’t work, and yet, it continued to perpetrate a self-sustaining illusion for nearly two decades by suppressing the very voices that could invalidate it from within,” the authors write.

These contradictions helped drive the evolution of military culture, the authors write. Over the years of DADT, military culture shifted towards more acceptance, but some senior leaders “continued to rally behind the rhetoric” of the policy. With repeal, the culture continued to change. “Military leaders declared how things were to be done in accordance with society’s mandates, and that is precisely what happened,” Parco and Levy write.