Gays and lesbians in the military face increasing harassment, according to an annual report released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The report cited 563 “command violations,” during which commanders harassed, pursued and asked members about their sexual orientation in violation of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy put in place by President Clinton.
Harassment by commanders led to 850 discharges from the military for gay, lesbian and bisexual members in 1996, the highest number in five years. No numbers were released by the Pentagon for 1997, despite repeated requests from the Network.
The report included recommendations for decreasing violations, including stricter limits on investigations into sexual orientation, punishing commanders who violate the limits, and offering recourse to officers who are being investigated. The report concluded, “It is time for military leaders to obey the law.”
Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military