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Inclusion of Openly Gay/Lesbian Soldiers

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Columbia Law School: U.S. Allies Experience ‘Smooth Transition’ with Openly Gay Soldiers

The Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic submitted a report to Congress showing U.S. allies have managed smooth transitions to having gay and lesbian soldiers serve openly in the military.

Based on extensive research into the experiences of Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom, the report, entitled “Open Service and Our Allies: A Report on the Inclusion of Openly Gay and Lesbian Servicemembers in U.S. Allies’ Armed Forces,” concludes that successful transitions to gays and lesbians serving openly involved no change in barracks housing or bathrooms.

“‘Open Service and Our Allies’ debunks many myths about the difficulty of transitioning to open service,” says Suzanne B. Goldberg, professor and director of the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic. “The report reinforces that ending the military’s exclusion of openly gay servicemembers is not only possible but also beneficial to national security.”

In addition, the report found military performance and unit cohesion improved, and discrimination and harassment did not significantly increase.

The report also shows that educational and training programs on sexual orientation, alongside an openness about the relationships of gay and lesbian military personnel, eased the transition to gays serving in most of these countries.

—Nancy Ford

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