Study: ‘Out’ Gay Military Service Works Just Fine
The first academic study to examine the effects of lifting the ban on openly gay military service finds that the new inclusive policy has had NO negative impact on unit cohesion or troop morale, among other areas.
The Palm Center released the results of its study Monday to coincide with next week’s one-year anniversary of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal. Lead author Aaron Belkin tells OutQ News “it’s nice to have a birthday” after decades of anti-LGBT discrimination in the armed forces.
Belkin says he and his team worked tirelessly to contact both supporters and opponents of repeal to assess their positions after implementation. They also conducted on-site military observations and analyzed various surveys.
BELKIN: We didn’t want to just do an independent analysis, but we wanted to maximize the chance that we would find bad evidence, in other words, evidence that repeal has undermined the military. And no matter how hard we looked and how widely we searched, we just couldn’t find any evidence.
Belkin finds that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal has actually led to increased levels of trust among troops and a heightened sense of military readiness. He says while some straight servicemembers have complained about integration, their concerns have not outweighed the overall benefits.
The San Francisco State University professor adds that retention and recruitment numbers have remained largely the same, though two military chaplains resigned shortly after repeal. And there is no evidence of a wave of physical violence against LGBT personnel.
Belkin says “there’s a lot more work” to be done, though, for transgender servicemembers not included under repeal. He also mentions securing equal benefits for the spouses of gay and lesbian troops and curbing anti-LGBT harassment as the subject of future efforts.