What is the history of LGBT service rights in the military?

The U.S. has had a rocky history involving LGBT service members. However, laws against discrimination and prejudice now allow them to openly serve.

Washington DC is the center of military action, rules and regulations in the country. As such, it has been at the heart of many rulings pertaining to the rights of LGBT persons to serve in the military. The road for these individuals has been very bumpy with many pitstops along the way. As we have reached a point as a country where LGBT people are starting to be seen as equals in all sense, the right to serve in the armed forces has finally been granted for most in this group, but it has been a long fight to get to this point.

Early History

New York Daily News reports being homosexual was thought of as a mental disorder, which immediately prevented LGBT service in the armed forces during Vietnam, the Korean War and World War II. Bans were in place preventing any openly gay person from entering the military.

The 1990s

In the 1990s, things were up and down. A major discharge of members who were openly homosexual occurred in 1992. At this point, it was thought being gay was not compatible with military service, so these individuals were put out of the service to the tune of about 17,000 people.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, which was installed under President Clinton, occurred in 1994. This law made it fine for LGBT people to serve in the military as long as they kept their sexuality a secret and didn't tell anyone. Once openly admitting to being homosexual, a person could be discharged from service. There was part of the law that worked to stop discrimination or harassment of individuals who were thought to be gay. Though, this didn't really help them to feel all that secure because if their "secret" was discovered, they would be pushed out of the military.

The 2000s

The first decade of the new millennium didn't see much changing. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was still in effect. However, in 2010, that law was repealed by President Obama. Finally, LGBT service members could be who they were openly without fear of being ousted from the service.

By 2016, transgendered individuals were given their rights. There had been a ban in full force against transgendered people serving in the armed forces, but this was repealed.

Unfortunately for transgendered people, on July 26, 2017, a new ruling was issued forbidding them to serve in U.S. military forces, according to Fox News. Congress is still debating the issue of providing federal funds for medical services specifically for transitioning, which seems to be at the heart of this issue. So, for now, those who fit into this group cannot enjoy the same freedom to serve as their LGBT brothers and sisters.

The rights of everyone to serve in the military and protect their country is a constant battle. For some assistance with any LGBT military service issues, you can contact the Law Offices of David P. Sheldon.