Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender LGBT personnel are able to serve in the armed forces of some countries around the world: This keeps pace with the latest global figures on acceptance of homosexuality, which suggest that acceptance of LGBT communities is becoming more widespread only in secular, affluent countries.
However, an accepting policy toward gay and lesbian soldiers does not invariably guarantee that LGBT citizens are immune to discrimination in that particular society.
Even in countries where LGBT persons are free to serve in the military, activists lament that there remains room for improvement.
Israelfor example, a country that otherwise struggles to implement LGBT-positive social policy, nevertheless has a military well known for its broad acceptance of openly gay soldiers. History has seen societies that both embrace and shun openly gay service-members in the military.
But more recently, the high-profile hearings on " Don't ask, don't tell " in the United States propelled the issue to the center of international attention. They also shed light both on the routine discrimination, violence, and hardship faced by LGBT-identified soldiers, as well as arguments for and against a ban on their service.
The LGBT Military Index is an index created by The Hague Centre for Strategic Army sexual harassment sexual orientation that uses 19 indicative policies and best practices to rank over countries on Army sexual harassment sexual orientation inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members in the armed forces.
Countries with higher rankings, especially the ones at the top, stand out for their multiple concerted efforts to promote the inclusion of gay and lesbian soldiers. In many of them special support and advocacy organizations are present. By contrast, countries near the bottom of the index show the lack of aspiration to promote greater inclusion of the LGBT military personnel. Throughout history, there have been several cultures which have looked favorably on homosexual behavior in the military.
Perhaps the most well-known example is found in ancient Greece and Rome. Homosexual behavior was encouraged among soldiers because it was thought to increase unit cohesiveness, morale and bravery.
However, homosexual behavior has been considered a criminal offense according to civilian and Army sexual harassment sexual orientation law in most countries throughout history. There are various accounts of trials and executions of members of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century and British sailors during the Napoleonic wars for homosexuality. To regulate homosexuality in the U. Many soldiers accused of homosexual behavior were discharged for being "sexual psychopaths", although the number of discharges greatly decreased during wartime efforts.
The rationale for excluding gays and lesbians from serving in the military is often rooted in cultural norms and values and has changed over time. Originally, it was believed that gays were not physically able to serve effectively. The pervading argument during the 20th century focused more on military effectiveness.
And finally, more recent justifications include the potential for conflict between heterosexual and homosexual service members and possible "heterosexual resentment and hostility. Many countries have since revised these policies and allow Army sexual harassment sexual orientation and lesbians to openly serve in the military e.
Israel in and the UK in There are currently 26 countries which allow gays and lesbians to serve and around 10 more countries that don't outwardly prohibit them from serving. In an inherently violent environment, LGBT people may face violence unique to their community in the course of military service.
For instance, the Israeli Defense Force does not ask the sexual orientation of its soldiers, however half of the homosexual soldiers who serve in the IDF suffer from violence and homophobia. LGBT soldiers are often victims of verbal and physical violence and for the most part, commanders ignore the phenomenon. The report doesn't have any paragraph studying the specific situation of LGBT people. The study focuses on men and women.
The specificity of the violence faced by LGBT people is not considered. In the Australian army, the problem is not known officially, only few cases of harassment and discrimination involving gays and lesbians have been recorded.
A researcher mentioned that "one would not want to be gay and in the military": Although there has been no major public scandal regarding harassment of gays, this does not mean that such behavior does not occur, but it has been under-studied.
Generally, however, incidents of discrimination or harassment brought to the attention of commanders are handled appropriately, incidents in which peers who had made inappropriate remarks are disciplined by superiors promptly and without reservation. Like sexual orientation, policies regulating the service of transgender military personnel vary greatly by country.
Based on data collected by the Hague Centre Strategic Studies  seventeen countries currently allow transgender people to serve in their military. While the US military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was rescinded in allowing open service by Army sexual harassment sexual orientation, lesbian, and bisexual service members, transgender people are still barred from entering the US Military.
Despite this, studies suggest that the propensity of trans individuals to serve in the US military is as much as twice that as cisgender individuals.
American transgender veterans face institutional hardships, including the provision of medical care while in the armed services and after discharge stemming from their gender identity or expression. Transgender veterans may also face additional challenges, such as facing a higher rate of homelessness and home foreclosure, higher rates of losing jobs often directly stemming from their trans identity, and high rates of not being hired for
Army sexual harassment sexual orientation jobs because of their gender identity.
The armed forces of Israel, the United States and Australia have employed intersex individuals depending on the nature of their conditions, but the guidelines are vague and seldom talked about. In the US armysix states Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia initially refused [ needs update ] to comply with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's order that gay spouses of National Guard members be given the same federal marriage benefits as heterosexual spouses, forcing couples to travel hours round trip to the nearest federal installation.
Furthermore, some benefits offered on bases, like support services for relatives of deployed service members, could still be blocked. Fear of discrimination may prevent military service members to be open about their sexual orientation.
In some cases, in Belgium, homosexual personnel have been transferred from their unit if they have been "too open with their sexuality. Serving openly may make their service less pleasant or impede their careers, even though there were no explicit limitations to serve.
Thus service members who acknowledged their homosexuality were "appropriately" circumspect in their behavior while in military situations; i. Until training is completed and a solid employment is fixed they fear losing respect, authority and privileges, or in worse cases their job in the Danish army. Commanders said that sexual harassment of women by men poses a far greater threat to unit performance than anything related to sexual orientation.
On the other hand, the Dutch military directly addressed the issue of enduring discrimination, by forming the Homosexuality and Armed Forces Foundation, a trade union that continues to represent gay and lesbian personnel to the ministry of defense, for a more tolerant military culture. Although homosexuals in the Dutch military rarely experience any explicitly aggressive acts against them, signs of homophobia and cultural insensitivity are still present.
In the United States, despite policy changes allowing for open LGBQ military service and the provision of some benefits to same-sex military couples, cultures of homophobia and discrimination persist. Several academics have written on the effects on employees in non-military contexts concealing their sexual orientation in the workplace. Writers on military psychology have linked this work to the experiences of LGBQ military service personnel, asserting that these studies offer insights into the lives of open LGBQ soldiers and those who conceal their orientation.
Specifically, non-open LGBT persons are found to experience social isolation. A study conducted at the University of Montana found that non-open LGB US veterans face significantly higher rates of depressionPost Traumatic Stress Disorderand alcohol or other substance abuse than their heterosexual counterparts.
These veterans also reported facing significant challenges serving while concealing their sexual orientation; This study also concludes that Evidence suggests that for LGB service members in the United States, the conditions of service and daily life have improved dramatically following the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Soldiers who choose to come out experience feelings of liberation, and report that no longer having to hide their orientation allows them to focus on their jobs.
Until recently, many countries Army sexual harassment sexual orientation gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces. The reasons to enforce this ban included the potential negative impact on unit cohesion and privacy concerns.
However, many studies commissioned to examine the effects on the military found that little evidence existed to support the discriminatory policy.
In fact, several studies provide evidence that allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the armed forces can result in more positive work related outcomes.
Firstly, discharging trained military personnel for their sexual orientation is costly and results in loss of talent.
The total cost for such discharges in the U. S for violating the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy amounted to more than million dollars. Although, it is important to note that many gays and lesbians do not disclose their sexual orientation once the ban is repealed.
For instance, the British military reduced its unfilled position gap by more than half after allowing gays to openly serve.
The arguments against allowing openly gay servicemen and women in the military abound. While most research data have all but debunked traditional arguments in favor of policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Army sexual harassment sexual orientation is still perceived by most countries to be incompatible with military service. A recurrent argument for a ban on homosexuals in the military rests on the assumption that, in the face of potentially homosexual members of their unit, prospective recruits would shy away from military service.
In a line of work that regularly demands that personnel be in close living quarters, allowing openly homosexual servicemen is argued to flout a fundamental tenet of military service: If gay men are allowed to shower with their fellow "Army sexual harassment sexual orientation" soldiers, so goes the argument, this would, in effect, violate the "unique conditions" of military life by putting sexually compatible partners in close proximity, with potentially adverse effects on retention and morale of troops.
Military historian Mackubin Thomas Owens conjectured in an Op-Ed for The Wall Street Journal that gay men and women would be partial to their lovers in the heat of battle. What happens when jealousy rears its head?
Owens further asserts that homosexuality may be incompatible with military service because it undermines the very ethos of a military, that is, one of nonsexual "friendship, comradeship or brotherly love". Tony Perkins of the Family Research Councila socially conservative advocacy organization, believes that allowing openly homosexual soldiers threatens the religious liberty of servicemen who disapprove of homosexuality for religious reasons.
Conceptions and categories of sexual orientation are not universal. Gays and lesbians have been allowed to serve in the Military of Albania since As ofthe Argentine government has officially ended the ban on homosexuals in the Argentine Armed Forces. A new military justice system was put into effect which decriminalizes homosexuality among uniformed members, and moves crimes committed exclusively within the military to the public justice sphere [previously there had been a separate military court system].
Under the old system, homosexuals were not permitted to have access to a military career, at the same time as this sexual orientation was penalized.
And, while there are no publicly known former sanctions against homosexuals under the old policy, this does not mean that men and women with that sexual orientation have not been disciplined, and perhaps separated from the armed forces under a mantle of silence.
In fact, with this new system, homosexuals who wish to train in the forces should encounter no impediment, nor any military retaliation. Australia has allowed homosexuals
Army sexual harassment sexual orientation serve openly since Austria permits homosexuals to serve openly in the Austrian Armed Forces.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The government made the announcement in Belgium permits homosexuals to serve openly in the Belgian Armed Forces.
However, if the behaviour of an individual who is gay or lesbian causes problems, that individual is subject to discipline or discharge. In some cases, homosexual personnel have been transferred Army sexual harassment sexual orientation their unit if they have been too open with their sexuality.
The Belgian military also continues to reserve the right to deny gay and lesbian personnel high-level security clearances, for fear they may be susceptible to blackmail. The Military of Bermuda does not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation, as it is formed by random lottery-style conscription. Officially, members of the Bermuda Regiment are prohibited from discriminating against or harassing soldiers on the basis Army sexual harassment sexual orientation sexual orientation;  such activities, however, are tolerated by officers, to the extent that one conscript described the Regiment as "the most homophobic environment that exists".
There is no law forbidding lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people from serving in the Brazilian Armed Forces. Sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be an obstacle for entry into the police force or the military in Brazil, and some trans women and travestis should make conscriptionlike some Brazilian male citizens.