Major and Classification
- Larry Gross, Ph.D.
Turning a New Leaf: A Pilot Study of Sexual Minorities within the Armed Forces of U.S. and Canada
Why cannot sexual minorities who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual serve openly within our U.S. Armed Forces? Canada already allows these sexual minorities to serve within their armed forces. The U.S. has not been so immediate in allowing open integration. Rather, it has been a gradual step for the equality of sexual minorities. Nevertheless, it is most relevant now for the U.S. Armed Forces to openly integrate sexual minorities. For the U.S. military, discrimination is still being exercised to deny another minority to serve openly. My pilot study was on sexual minorities that self-identify as gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual within the Armed Forces of U.S. and Canada. I wanted to examine the experiences of sexual minorities during their military service in order to better understand their actual lives in the U.S. Armed Forces, despite the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and to compare their experiences with sexual minorities of the Canadian Armed Forces. My methods were qualitative based in gathering data by anonymous interviews of retired, reserve, and active U.S. service members thru on-line correspondence. In my study, I did not succeed in locating Canadian service members, but the experiences recounted by U.S. respondents was very informative about the way they live and work within the U.S. Armed Forces, and further demonstrates how important it is for the U.S. to abandon the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and to adopt non-discriminatory policies on sexual orientation such as those employed not only in Canada, but also of other countries such as Australia, Israel, and the UK. This study would greatly benefit the U.S. and its citizens to further initiate considering a better system for the U.S. military to openly integrate sexual minorities in the near future.