Homosexuality And The U.S. Military: A Study Of Homosexual Identity And Choice Of Military Service
Sinclair, G. Dean
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The Department of Defense policy regarding homosexuals allows gays and lesbians to join without requiring them to divulge their sexual orientation. However, just as in previous versions of the military's homosexual policies, the current Don't Ask, Don't Tell version continues to make it clear that gay men and lesbians are not welcome. The policy excludes persons (homosexuals) whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to its high standards of morale, good order, discipline, and unit cohesion (US Code 654, 1993). The purpose of this study was to examine and gain an understanding of those homosexuals who choose to join the military and serve under sexually covert conditions. The questions contained in the survey were used to assist in understanding why the participants made the choices they made in regards to their military service. The survey included the Gay Identity Questionnaire (Brady & Busse, 1994), the Satisfaction with Life scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), and the Generalized Expectancy for Success Scale-Revised (Hale, Fiedler, & Cochran, 1992). Additional questions in the survey were related to preference choices that assisted in testing the theory proposed of homosexuals who join the military belonging to one of three life preference groups: adaptive, community centered, or career centered. Participants in this study reported a decline in satisfaction with life as well as their estimation for success as they progressed toward the mid-stages of homosexual identity and then improved again as they advanced into the final stages of identity development. The mid-stage of homosexual identity is a time of conflict for a homosexual in the military who is struggling with self-acceptance and the need to share these feelings with others, yet forced to keep these feelings hidden to prevent expulsion from the service due to the Don't Tell portion of the current military homosexual policy. Results from this study indicate that as long as homosexuals are allowed to join and serve their country, the military needs to ensure confidential mental health services are available for homosexuals who are in need of support while transitioning through the stages of homosexual development.