don't ask, don't tell


“Don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT) was a discriminatory policy of the U.S. government and military that was repealed by the Obama administration on September 20, 2011. The policy prohibited people who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” It prevented the estimated 65,000 gay Americans in the military from serving openly, as well as giving the military authority to permanently dismiss a servicemember if it was discovered that they were gay. The policy discriminated against gay servicemembers, their partners and families by not allowing pensions and benefits to pass on if the servicemember was killed in combat.

Since DADT official ended in 2011, persons who are openly homosexual and bisexual have been able to serve, but those who exhibit “transvestism” are psychiatrically disqualified and those who have “major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia” are still medically disqualified. It’s estimated that over 134,000 American veterans are transgender, and over 15,000 trans people are serving in military today despite rules forbidding them to serve openly. Support for transgender veterans has improved, but they still face barriers from obtaining updated service records that do not out them as transgender, and from receiving VA coverage of necessary medical procedures. Furthermore, restrictions on open service continue to bring an early end to the careers of qualified service members, even though those rules lack any basis in medicine or military need.


servicemembers united, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops, veterans, allies and supporters.
The National Center for Transgender Equality – resources for military veterans.
NY Times Op-doc: Transgender, at War and in Love  – This short documentary shares the challenges of a transgender military couple, who are banned from serving openly.
wikipedia – DADT