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Position Statement on Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals in the Military

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) opposes the military policy mandated by Title 10 of the United States Code (Section 654) which prohibits an individual's service in the military on the basis of sexual orientation. Section 654 bans openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving in the military. APsaA strongly advocates that the United States Government overturn the current policy.

It is the position of APsaA that sexual orientation is not germane to any aspect of military effectiveness, including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment or retention. Empirical evidence, as well as comparative data from foreign militaries and domestic police and fire departments shows that when lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are allowed to serve openly there is no evidence of disruption. APsaA recognizes and abhors the many detrimental effects the policy has had on individual service members, the military and the United States society since the enactment of Title 10 section 654 in 1994. Years of psychological research and experience have shown the extensive mental toll of keeping one's sexual orientation hidden. Mandating a ban on self disclosure of sexual orientation for personnel in uniform is thus unnecessarily harmful to their mental health and well being. It also creates ethical dilemmas for military mental health providers.

Personnel in uniform are currently at war and find the love and support of their families to be essential in supporting them in carrying out their missions. Under the current government policy, lesbian, gay and bisexual military members must be vigilant not to inadvertently disclose their sexual orientation. They are unable to contact their partners and loved ones openly via phone or e-mail when away from home for fear of being discovered. On military forms they cannot list their partners as "next of kin" when they are to be notified in an emergency. At such specific times of distress or emergency, these individuals are isolated and restricted from having equally unguarded and honest access to the support of their loved ones and families.

The U.S. military is capable of integrating members of groups historically excluded from its ranks, as demonstrated by its success in reducing both racial and gender discrimination. Where openly lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces there has been no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness. APsaA thus reaffirms its support for men and women in uniform and its dedication to promoting their health and well being. APsaA endorses the amelioration of the negative effects of the current law through the training and education of mental health professionals and the dissemination of scientific knowledge and professional expertise relevant to implementing this resolution.

This statement is part of APsaA's strong ongoing commitment to removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior and orientations; promoting the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults and youth; eliminating violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender armed service members; and working to ensure the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, both as individuals and members of committed same-sex relationships, in such areas as employment, housing, public accommodation, licensing, parenting and access to legal benefits.

Approved January 2009.

References

APsaA's Position Statement on Homosexuality.

Belkin, A. (2003). Don't ask, don't tell: Is the gay ban based on military necessity? Parameters, 33(2), 108-119.

Belkin, A., & Bateman, G. (2003). Don't ask, don't tell: Debating the gay ban in the military. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Belkin, A., & McNichol, J. (2000-2001). Homosexual personnel policy in the Canadian forces: Did lifting the gay ban undermine military performance? International Journal, 56(1), 73-88.

Binkin, M., & Bach, S. J. (1977). Women and the military. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Binkin, M., Eitelberg, M. J., Schexnider, A. J., & Smith, M. M. (1982). Blacks and the Military. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

Cammermeyer v. Aspin, 850 F. Supp. 910. (W. D. Wash, 1994).

Frank, Nathaniel. (In Print 2009). Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Gade, P. A., Segal, D. R., & Johnson, E. M. (1996). The experience of foreign militaries. In G. M. Herek, J. B. Jobe, & R. Carney (Eds.), Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military (pp. 106-130). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Herek, G. M., Jobe, J., & Carney, R. (Eds.). (1996). Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

GAYS, LESBIANS AND BISEXUALS SERVING IN THE MILITARY

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) opposes the military policy mandated by Title 10 of the United States Code (Section 654) which prohibits an individual’s service in the military on the basis of sexual orientation. Section 654 bans openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving in the military. APsaA strongly advocates that the United States Government overturn the current policy.

It is the position of APsaA that sexual orientation is not germane to any aspect of military effectiveness, including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment or retention. Empirical evidence, as well as comparative data from foreign militaries and domestic police and fire departments shows that when lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are allowed to serve openly there is no evidence of disruption. APsaA recognizes and abhors the many detrimental effects the policy has had on individual service members, the military and the United States society since the enactment of Title 10 section 654 in 1994. Years of psychological research and experience have shown the extensive mental toll of keeping one’s sexual orientation hidden. Mandating a ban on self disclosure of sexual orientation for personnel in uniform is thus unnecessarily harmful to their mental health and well being. It also creates ethical dilemmas for military mental health providers.

Personnel in uniform are currently at war and find the love and support of their families to be essential in supporting them in carrying out their missions. Under the current government policy, lesbian, gay and bisexual military members must be vigilant not to inadvertently disclose their sexual orientation. They are unable to contact their partners and loved ones openly via phone or e-mail when away from home for fear of being discovered. On military forms they cannot list their partners as "next of kin" when they are to be notified in an emergency. At such specific times of distress or emergency, these individuals are isolated and restricted from having equally unguarded and honest access to the support of their loved ones and families.

The U.S. military is capable of integrating members of groups historically excluded from its ranks, as demonstrated by its success in reducing both racial and gender discrimination. Where openly lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces there has been no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness. APsaA thus reaffirms its support for men and women in uniform and its dedication to promoting their health and well being. APsaA endorses the amelioration of the negative effects of the current law through the training and education of mental health professionals and the dissemination of scientific knowledge and professional expertise relevant to implementing this resolution.

This statement is part of APsaA’s strong ongoing commitment to removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior and orientations; promoting the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults and youth; eliminating violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender armed service members; and working to ensure the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, both as individuals and members of committed same-sex relationships, in such areas as employment, housing, public accommodation, licensing, parenting and access to legal benefits.

Approved January 2009.

References:

APsaA's Position Statement on Homosexuality.

Belkin, A. (2003). Don’t ask, don’t tell: Is the gay ban based on military necessity? Parameters, 33(2), 108-119.

Belkin, A., & Bateman, G. (2003). Don’t ask, don’t tell: Debating the gay ban in the military. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Belkin, A., & McNichol, J. (2000-2001). Homosexual personnel policy in the Canadian forces: Did lifting the gay ban undermine military performance? International Journal, 56(1), 73-88.

Binkin, M., & Bach, S. J. (1977). Women and the military. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Binkin, M., Eitelberg, M. J., Schexnider, A. J., & Smith, M. M. (1982). Blacks and the Military. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

Cammermeyer v. Aspin, 850 F. Supp. 910. (W. D. Wash, 1994).

Frank, Nathaniel. (In Print 2009). Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Gade, P. A., Segal, D. R., & Johnson, E. M. (1996). The experience of foreign militaries. In G. M. Herek, J. B. Jobe, & R. Carney (Eds.), Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military (pp. 106-130). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Herek, G. M., Jobe, J., & Carney, R. (Eds.). (1996). Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.