Smooth Transition for Military Gays in U.S. Allies
BY Julie Bolcer
May 14 2010 8:10 AM ET
A new report submitted to Congress about openly gay people serving for
allied countries shows that successful transitions were
made smoothly and without the imposition of separate facilities. The report recommends specific inclusion steps for the U.S. military.
The report from the Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic is called, "Open Service and Our Allies: A Report on the Inclusion of Openly Gay and Lesbian Servicemembers in U.S. Allies’ Armed Forces." It examines the key factors for transition of openly gay soldiers into the militaries of Australia, Canada, Israel, and the U.K.
According to a news release from the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, the report concludes that gays and lesbians were able to serve for the allies without changes to barracks, housing and bathrooms. It also found that the inclusion of openly gay soldiers improved military performance and unit cohesion, and that harassment and discrimination did not increase significantly.
“Drawing from its documentation of allies’ efforts, the report makes four specific recommendations to ease the U.S. military’s move to open service,” says the clinic. “Educational and training programs that include sexual orientation; strong anti-discrimination policies that provide a clear procedure for handling grievances; sexual harassment policies that apply equally to all servicemembers and focus on the inappropriate act rather than the identity of the offender; and military support of gay pride activities and gay and lesbian affinity groups within the military.”
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