very well outnumber gay men in the military, according to
Williams Institute senior research fellow Gary Gates.
percentage of lesbians that serve in the military is really
quite high," he said. "It's
possible that there are more lesbians than gay men
serving in the military."
interpretation could explain why such a disproportionate
percentage of women in the military (relative to the
percentage of female service members) are discharged
under the military's "don't ask,
don't tell" policy. Even though women account for
only about 15% of the Army and Air Force, new numbers
released this week show that they make up nearly half
of all DADT discharges.
The new data,
gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group for
military personnel, was published in a New York
Times article on June 23. The figures show an
increase in the percentage of women discharged under
"don't ask, don't tell" between 2006 and
"It's not that [the Times] made factual
errors," Gates insists, but without an
interpretation, the information suggests that a
disproportionate number of women were discharged from the
military under "don't ask, don't tell" in 2007
for no apparent reason. "Why might that be?
That's the question [the Times] didn't
answer for me," Gates said.
Gates says the
issue isn't what percentage of women make up the
military, it's the "percentage of women
among gay and lesbian populations in the
military." Based on statistical techniques and census
data utilized by Gates and the Williams Institute,
they found that the LGB population could account for
anywhere from 40% to upward of 50% of the total female
service members. According to Gates, "This is the key
reason you see high proportions of women among
["don't ask, don't tell"] discharges."
(Hannah Clay Wareham, The Advocate)