The Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has made available the "don't ask, don't tell" survey distributed to 400,000 active duty and reserve military personnel Wednesday.
In addition to multiple questions about whether military members have served with someone they believed to be gay and how it affected their unit's performance, the survey includes a few questions about shared sleeping and bathroom facilities. Here is one sample question:
If Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed and you are assigned to bathroom facilities with an open bay shower that someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian Service member also used, which are you most likely to do? Mark 1.
Take no action Use the shower at a different time than the Service member I thought to be gay or lesbian Discuss how we expect each other to behave and conduct ourselves Talk to a chaplain, mentor, or leader about how to handle the situation Talk to a leader to see if I had other options Something else Don't know
If you selected 'Something else,' please specify below.
"While it remains safe for gay and lesbian troops to participate in this survey, it is simply impossible to imagine a survey with such derogatory and insulting wording, assumptions, and insinuations going out about any other minority group in the military," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under "don't ask, don't tell."
"Flawed aspects of the survey include the unnecessary use of terms that are known to be inflammatory and bias-inducing in social science research, such as the clinical term 'homosexual;' an overwhelming focus on the potential negative aspects of repeal and little or no inclusion of the potential positive aspects of repeal or the negative aspects of the current policy; the repeated and unusual suggestion that a co-worker or leader might need to 'discuss' appropriate behavior and conduct with gay and lesbian troops; and more."
Formulated by the research firm Westat, the survey is part of the Pentagon Working Group's 10-month study on the impact of the discriminatory policy's potential repeal. The survey has generated worries among pro-repeal groups, who told The Advocate Thursday that they had not been allowed to see the survey or offer significant input into its design and questions.
In its brief news release Friday, the Palm Center did not specify how it obtained the survey.