Sunday, July 11, 2010

Will Troops Accept a Homosexualized Military?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is urging gays in the military to answer a Pentagon survey on the policy that bans them from serving openly, but advocacy groups worry the poll may be biased against gays or that those who participate could be exposed and expelled.

-- From "Pentagon sends out 'don't ask, don't tell' survey" by Barbara Starr, CNN 7/8/10

The Pentagon on Wednesday began sending out to troops a survey of more than 100 questions seeking their views on the impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions prohibiting gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.

An administration official confirmed to CNN that the survey is being sent to 200,000 active duty troops and 200,000 reserve troops. The official declined to be identified because the survey has not officially been made public.

The survey, which service members can expect to receive via e-mail, asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian; the need to maintain personal standards of conduct; and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military.

The survey also asks a number of questions aimed at identifying problems that could occur when troops live and work in close quarters in overseas war zones. For example, the questionnaire asks military members how they would react if they had to share a room, bathrooms, and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian.

There also are several questions about reactions to dealing with same-sex partners in social situations.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Legal Group Urges Homosexuals to Boycott Pentagon Survey on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" by Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press 7/9/10

"I strongly encourage gays and lesbians who are in the military to fill out these forms," Gates said of the poll e-mailed to some 400,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. "We organized this in a way to protect their privacy and the confidentiality of their responses ... and it's important that we hear from them as well as everybody else."

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said earlier Thursday that the Defense Department has not agreed to grant immunity to anyone inadvertently outed during the survey, which is intended to help a special working group decide how repeal of the policy might be implemented and how that could affect the military.

Another group, Servicemembers United, said it was concerned about "unintentional bias" in the wording of survey questions but was satisfied it would not violate the confidentiality of participating gays. The Pentagon is not publicly releasing the survey, but some draft questions the group had learned about were homophobic, director Alexander Nicholson said in an interview. For instance, one asked troops if they would be comfortable sharing bathrooms with gays and lesbians.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.