Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Don't Ask" Twice As Likely to Target Women

(Link) Wartime discharges have dropped, but they haven't stopped. Even though women only make up about 15% of the Armed Forces, 30% of those booted under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are female.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Christopher Curtis, GAY.COM/PlanetOut.com Network

Women in the US military are twice as likely to be targeted by their "don't ask, don't tell" ban on LGBT military personnel, the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network said Monday.

While women comprise about 15 percent of the total military force, they represent nearly 30 percent of all "don't ask, don't tell" discharges since 1993, Department of Defence figures show.

"Lesbian-baiting goes back to the early days of World War II, when women began volunteering for service in what was traditionally a man's world," said retired Brigadier General Evelyn "Pat" Foote, an honorary board member of SLDN.

"In Iraq today, women represent approximately 15% of the forces reporting for duty and have made sacrifices equal to men," Foote said. "They should be valued for their service and in no way held back because of gender or sexual orientation."

Steve Ralls, spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network, blamed the high rate of "don't ask, don't tell" investigations against women to "retribution and revenge".

Ralls noted that the women targeted included those who could generate unfavourable reviews of male subordinates, turned down sexual advances from men or serve in non-traditional job roles in the armed forces.

However, he admitted that between 2001 and 2004, "don't ask, don't tell" discharges were down 40 percent. "I would be surprised if we did see a significant increase for 2005," Ralls said. "Although SLDN did document several malicious outings in 2005."

Despite the military's prohibition on open service, an October 2004 study by the Urban Institute indicates that lesbians comprise 5% of all female service members.

Lesbians also tend to serve longer than other women, the report said, noting that nearly 82% of coupled lesbians report serving more than two years, compared with 74% of other women.

"The lesbian community has a long record of service to our country," said SLDN Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn. "We must not treat women who sacrifice for our freedom as second-class citizens. Military leaders should send a strong message that lesbian-baiting will not be tolerated."