Antigay Bias in Role-Model Occupations

By E. Gary Spitko | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Defending the Masculine Identity of the
Military and Its Service Members

From its enactment in 1993 until the effective date of its repeal in September 2011, America’s “Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces,” better known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” provided for the separation of any military service member who had acknowledged that he is gay. More precisely, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell statute provided that a service member “shall be separated from the armed forces” if the military finds that he has engaged in a homosexual act or attempted to do so, has married a person of the same sex or attempted to do so, or has stated that he is homosexual.1 A service member who had engaged in a homosexual act or had attempted to do so could avoid discharge under the statute if he could demonstrate, among other things, that he “does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.”2 Similarly, a service member who had stated that he is gay could avoid discharge under the statute if he could demonstrate that he “is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.”3 Between 1993 and 2010, the military discharged more than 13,000 service members under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell pursuant to this statute and pursuant to Department of Defense Directives 1332.14 (covering enlisted personnel separations) and 1332.30 (covering officer separations), which set forth the procedures for implementing the statute.4

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces is perhaps the best-known example of an employment law aimed at coercing gay persons to pass. What is implicit or merely understood with respect to sexual orientation and other role-model occupations is most

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