The United States
military appears to be discharging fewer and fewer gay
soldiers under its 12-year-old "don't ask,
don't tell" policy. A Boston Globe
report this week says recent data show the military
retained 36 soldiers last year, despite their being
identified as gay. In 2004 the military retained only 22.
Some people speculate that the difficulty of
recruiting and retaining soldiers for the war in Iraq
may explain the change. Others say it's a sign
that Americans in general--and young people in
particular--are just more comfortable with gay
people than they were in 1994, when the "don't
ask, don't tell" policy went into effect.
Data from the Defense Department of Defense show
that the number of service members discharged under
the policy plummeted as the war on terror escalated.
In 2001 the number of gays discharged reached its peak
at more than 1,200. It dropped by almost 30% the following
year to 906.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq did not begin until
2003, but the number of gay soldiers discharged has
continued to decline. The only thing that hasn't
changed, says the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, is
that female soldiers are being discharged under the
antigay policy at a rate that is twice what their
numbers represent in the force. (Sirius OutQ News)