Women and homosexuals in the armed forces

What do you think about women and homosexuals in the armed
forces? I had a look around and I can’t see any threads which discuss this. I’m going to take a totally neutral position on this, I was just curious to know your opinions.

Personally, I don’t care what the gender or sexual orientation of members of the armed forces is, so long as they can do the job - that’s my only concern.

Morale? I’m not convinced that a gay soldier, sailor or airmen will destroy a unit’s effectiveness. If someone has a cite or study to debate, please go ahead!

Can’t think of a convincing argument why they shouldn’t.

Quota’s shouldn’t be met though, it should be whoever has the best physical ability, smarts, and such. Sexual orintation of any sort should be don’t ask don’t tell (Yes that means no heterosexual talk either)

Basically, whoever wants to be in the army can be, as long as they can physically keep up.

Well, I know I’m in the minority on this, but…

I think women in the military is a bad thing. I have no problem with homosexual men in the military, but women, that’s where I see a problem.

I have never served in the military, so I will admit that I cannot speak from experience, but I do however work in an occupation that is comprised of predominatly males (I’d guess about 90%).

That said, the few women who do work with us are constantly gawked and googled at, unbeknownst to them. This could be characterized as a “distraction” for us. Now, one could argue, why don’t we just stop looking at them? Well, that’s easier said than done.

The aforesaid principle can be applied to the military. Being that the military is predominatly male, the few females that are present would serve as “eye candy” and “flirtation devices” for the males.

Is this necessarily bad during peace time? Or a matter of national security if Joe is having some fun with Sally? Probably not. But during combat, this is where I see the problem coming into play.

CNN printed an article about women recently being allowed to serve on American submarines for the first time. In that article, a House Representative mentions that, “if we put women on submarines, there will be pregnancies. One cannot deny this urge of nature and it will occur.”

I wholeheartledly believe him.

Towards the end of the article, it goes onto say that women have already been allowed to serve on Carriers, and that there have been pregnancies. The Navy reports that the pregnancy rate is low, but I’m a bit skeptical.

I just think that opposite sexes who work with each other in life and death situations for prolonged periods of time lead to mishaps and misfortunes. Not to say that the same can’t happen with same sexes, but opposite sexes only increases it.

Anyway, that’s just what I think. Rebutt at will.


“That said, the few black employees who do work with us are constantly gawked at and the butt of jokes, unbeknownst to them. This could be characterized as a distraction for us.”

Does that sound any better?

I humbly submit that the problem is with the MAN, not the women.


I have a penis, and I do not seem to have this problem. As such, I don’t think it’s easier said than done.

I do realize that females in the military is to a degree like females in the NFL - that is, that line of work is and should be different than an administrative assistant position in an office building - but your examples are not good reasons why women shouldn’t be allowed to work around working environments predominantly filled with men, IMHO.

If anything, they are reasons why I am sometimes ashamed to be a man.

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Well, at my job, I’d rather work with a lesbian (just covering both in one stroke) who gets the job done than a straight guy who doesn’t. Why should things be different in a life or death situation?

Of course, the answer to the above question is that order and discipline need to be maintained, and both socializing and gay bashing have been problems. But have pregnancies and STDs caused a significant amount of absenteeism or affected the functioning of a unit? How about injuries suspected to be as a result of gay bashing? Yes. I’m overlooking the obvious case of the soldier killed in Kentucky, but how could it be worked into this debate, as a peacetime casualty?

The only other alternative I can think of is segregation and who wants to be in a segregated unit?

Satan, maybe you need more viagra…? :smiley: (Sorry, but that was too open of a shot there)

Actually, the problem seems to be one of discipline. In other avenues of life, I can understand the “Gawk Factor”. But we’re talking about the Army, who are SUPPOSED to be disciplined.

“Men, these are ‘Women’. They have these silly little holes called ‘vaginas’, but are often referred to by several other designations. Also, they have these odd, strategically place lumps dangling from their upper abdomen. These lumps vary greatly in size, and usually require some sort of support structure, which our Intel guys are trying to figure out right now. Other noticeable aspects of ‘Women’ are the posterior ends, the upper thighs, or a silhouette which resembles an hourglass. Finally, most of you may notice that ‘Women’ are visually enticing, but we’re not allowed to ask which ones of you do. Now, your orders: Do not insert anything into ‘Women’, do not direct innappropriate sounds towards ‘Women’, do not place your hands anywhere on their bodies. You will treat ‘Women’ as fellow comrades-in-arms, and treat them with respect. That’s all, men… good luck.”

Should solve the problem.

The United States Armed Forces has a very effective way of dealing with those who misbehave: A court-martial. At the very least, those who are convicted of conduct unbecoming an (officer or enlistee), a very real offense, could face time in a military prison (a place that makes a Federal prison seem like day camp), assignments unfit for a dog, or other, less tasteful, punishments. Military justice is not the same as civillian justice. In the military, nobody is going to save you by appealing to the masses. There have been no riots over military court proceedings. There are also no Johnnie Cochorans in the military. If you are convicted, punishment is very real and very harsh. After all, merely being an ass, conduct expected of people in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities, is a punishable offense. In short, the military has little time for ‘natural’ urges. If you can do your job, you will advance as long as you can also please those above you and keep down those below you. If you cannot do your job, you will be summarily reassigned to a post more fitting to your attributes. Like spit-shining tanks in Alaska.

On Friday 28th July acting on the findings of guilt in a discrimination case involving gay service personnel the British government ws ordered to pay compensation to the plaintiffs who had been unlawfully dismissed solely on the grounds of sexual orientation.

When I was in the Royal Navy we got plenty of talk about being dismissed if we were found to be gay.There were training films about individual cases loosely based on real life which showed the process of investigation which was subtly put across as being fair but humiliating.

The main justification as far as I could see was the likihood of compromise to foreign powers and the cases of Burgess, Maclean and Philby were used as examples.

In one lecture the room went very quiet and the instructor was very embarrased when one person pointed out that being under threat of dishonourable discharge was far more likely to cause a gay person to attempt to hide the fact and that this in itself would make blackmail more likely and more effective.

This was in the late 70’s and early 80’s and there was a pretty strong feeling against women serving on warships too.

Things have changed a little, we now have women on board and yes it apparently does complicate life at sea but IMHO young men and women have all these things to deal with in civilian life and become more complete for it. Denying service personnel the chance to mix and work together is simply stunting their development.

Homosexuality is a fact of life and service personnel have to be mature enough to understand it.

One of the problems may be that most guys entering the military are straight (excuse the expression) out of high school, and if there is anyone more conservative and intolerant of that which deviates from their sheltered norm than your average high schooler, I haven’t seen it. Homosexuality is pretty damn scary to these guys, half of whom are virgins, many of whom are a little ambiguous about their own leanings. Girls aren’t people, they’re some odd species you score with, brag about the same way you would brag about any other possession or trophy, but would rarely consider a person.

Unfortunately, most of the men who will be training this fine body of soldiers still think that way, via a long military tradition. I think anyone who wished to join the military and is capable of fulfilling the requirements should be permitted to do so. The only way to get rid of the pervasive xenophobia is by changing the attitude from the drill sergeant on up.

I don’t know about that. On May 31, 2000 the Associated Press released a poll that showed that among “adults between 18 and 34, some 54 percent thought gay people should be allowed to marry, while only 14 percent of those
over 65 felt that way.”

I know that marriage is not related to the topic at hand, but the poll indicates that the younger generation is in fact more tolerant. Though other studies I have seen show that tolerance is more likely among the college eduated than those with just high school degrees.
See: http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr000307b.asp

So, perhaps you are correct, high schoolers aren’t exactly tolerant, but the polls indicate education can help that. Also, those who actually know a gay person are more likely to be tolerant.

I fail to see how coddling soldiers and separating them from gay personnel will solve problems. In fact, it would seem only to foster the idea that gays are somehow “undeserving” or “untrustworthy” when it comes to serving the country. Also, I have issues with the current Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because it also fosters the idea that homosexuality is something to be hidden away.

Also, as has been pointed out earlier, it does make the soldier more susceptible to blackmail. It also puts female soldiers in a difficult position. Female servicemen have complained that inquiries were opened into their sexual orientation because they refused sexual advances from men.

Then there is the RAND study that can be found here:

In Chapter 9, the conclusions are “The experience of foreign militaries and police and fire departments suggests that if leaders make it quite clear that violence will not be tolerated and stern action will be taken, violence can be kept at a minimum.”

Right now, there is a lot of theorizing about what might happen if the US services were to integrate homosexuals. Why don’t we just monitor the situations in other militaries around the world? After all, we are the only NATO nation besides Turkey that does not allow openly gay servicemen. Find out the problems that other countries have had with integration, solutions they have found, and whether it is working there.


I agree with you in your diagnosis but the your solution, unfortunately, will take a long while to work.

Those drill sergeants more or less matured in the forces and their attitudes reflect the state of the forces when they were younger.
I doubt that they could re-educate themselves all that easily.
It will take time for those who are recruited today to reach the same levels and influence their trainees.

We have a discussion in the UK about an act of parliament(Section 28) which expressly forbids the “promotion of homosexuality” in school.
What this actually does is to criminalise the teacher who even mentions the dreaded homo word.
This was passed by a (you guessed it) right-wing government.

In reality it prevents teachers from counselling pupils and makes it very difficult to prevent bullying because, as we all know, high school kids often use accusations of homosexuality to intimidate others.(even if homosexuality is not actually involved)

The current administration is having a great deal of difficulty getting rid of it because of our archaic system of government which allows people born of titled families to delay and effectively kill off legislation.

Our media have, which is owned by a bunch of reactionary old white men, portray the repeal of this law as an invitation to perverts and teachers to promote the homosexual lifestyle, as if there is such a thing anyway.

This leads to young adults joining the forces in ignorance and fear of homosexuality.

Fortunately our society is changing, largely because of the European court of human rights which has made it an offence to dismiss women from the forces if they become pregnant, gives women the right to join the armed forces in active combat roles and now outlaws the dismissal of gay persons from the armed forces.

No wonder the nasty little right-wing republican loving conservative party in the UK does not want us to be more integrated into the European state, why that might end up giving us more freedom and fewer hang-ups like the Dutch are and we wouldn’t want that now would we.

Well said, casdave. (And yes, I was trying to show restraint in the regulation thread!)

As far as gay men in the military I don’t care. Let 'em die in the mud with the rest of us guys.

I don’t think women should be in the military except for certain non-combat positions. This allows women to serve their country if they wish, and also gives them access to the government benefits if military service. (GI bill etc…)

That said I think only a very sick nation would allow women in combat positions. Ask your self “what are we fighting to protect?” Are we fighting to protect our homes, our mothers, our sisters, our daughters? If we are then how can we send them off to fight while we (the men left) stay home.

Now if you admit that what we are really fighting over is oil, then I guess it wouldn’t make a difference who dies.

Maybe we should Spartanize the armed services, require that all men join, and leave the women in charge of all domestic policies. You know, learn to be a man among men the old-fashioned way. Solves both problems in one swoop.

So throw your condoms overboard, there’s no one here but men, men, men, men…

(insert smiley face here to show I am not serious…mostly)


I HAVE served in the Navy, and I am a woman. I am qualified to give a semi-educated opinion on this.


Ummm… what ARE women, anyway? I like to think that I am more than a vagina, uterus and a couple breasts. Besides, the simple, undeniable fact is that when a bunch of people spend a lot of time together in close quarters, some of them are going to be attracted to each other. It’s basic human nature.


All kidding aside, the Congressman gave a blinding flash of the obvious.

They’re telling the truth, for once. When I was in, the pregnancy rate for a ship of 300 women on a six-month crew was so small, it was negligible. The Navy, anyway, makes birth control readily available to anyone who wants it; in fact, it’s encouraged. Condoms are passed out like candy to anyone who wants them, no questions asked. There are consequences to unwanted pregnancies, and the Navy lets women AND men know what they are.

Thanks, I think I will.

This logic is faulty, for several reasons, a few of which I’ve already mentioned.
This whole sex argument presupposes that women and gays exist for one reason and one reason alone, and that is to have sex. As I stated, I, like most women, am more than the sum of my reproductive organs. I’ve met some whiny, bitchy straight men, and have met women who were capable of putting fires out. (I meant that in a literal sense) So have we all.

I think the military needs to consider ALL people INDIVIDUALLY. I’ve met some women who shouldn’t go in the military, but then again, I’ve met some men who shouldn’t go, either.

As it stands, the Pentagon already has mechanisms in place for disciplining sexual harassers and those who participate in inappropriate sexual conduct. It’s called either nonjudicial punishment or a court-martial, depending on how charitable the command feels that day. I’ve known some people whose otherwise promising careers were ruined over one blowjob. I’m not kidding. Fortunately, most people have the sense not to do it.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of the people in the Armed Services are mature, competent adults who are capable of making their own choices, acting (or not acting) on them, and dealing with their consequences. I’ve really not seen any convincing reason why women and gays should not be allowed into the services that didn’t rely on speculation and misogyny.
Sorry for the long post, folks.


Sexual orientation is not relevant. Does the armed forces include intercourse as part of the job? No? Then anything to do with sexual orientation is not a bona fide requirement for the work.

There are not very many variables to consider here.

Of course, there are people who say that we are fighting for those who cannot fight for themsleves. This does not apply to women in general. If there are women out there who can fight for themselves, why should they have to stay at home and bat their eyelashes at the brave soldiers when they return home? I would think that the purpose of fighting is to win/accomplish whatever you came to do. If this is so, it makes absolutely no sense to refuse to let someone participate who can assist with that goal.

Now, I am not advocating that all women be allowed to fight in combat. I feel that only those individuals–male or female/gay or straight–who can pass the physical and mental requirements for combat fighting should be allowed to fight. I don’t care what kind of genitals a person has or what he/she does with them when they get horny–I do care whether or not he/she can use a weapon/fight/follow instructions.

I was thrown out of a high school asssembly once for challenging an Army officer who tried to feed us a bullshit excuse for not allowing women to fight in the military. He said that if women were captured and tortured for information, the men who served with them would not be able to handle the mental and emotional strain of listening to a woman being tortured and would end up breaking down and this was a security risk. I said then, and I maintain to this day, that if that is the case, then it is the men who are the weaker ones and they should not be allowed to fight.

I served with both women and homosexuals. And, yes, some soldiers took advantage of their proximity and had sex. Other soldiers had sex with civilians of whichever gender they found attractive. A few had sex with the wives of officers and NCOs that they found obnoxious. Some didn’t have any sex at all.

Poor bastards.

Some of the best soldiers I knew chose inappropriate people with whom to exchange bodily fluids. Often, that resulted in disciplinary action. One was removed from the service.

So what.

When I was enlisted, I did not like the women with whom I served. Without exception they were less capable to handle the physical demands of the job. Without exception they took full advantage of the softer performance standards required of them. That’s right – both of them were bad soldiers.

When I was at West Point I served with a much larger sample size. Many of them were quite able to handle the physical, mental and emotional demands of that environment. I cannot say for certain that they turned into good soldiers, but they certainly seemed to be well on their way.

Yes, they suffered harrassment. (Some of it from me, in fact – not my proudest moment.) Without exception, they dealt with it and drove on.

That’s what a soldier does.

The strongest arguments against women and homosexuals in combat units all rely on the social prejudices of our society. These arguments are not unfounded. These arguments stress practical matters which should not be minimized when discussing the potential defense of our nation and our way of life.

The same arguments were used 5 decades ago to argue against racially integrated units. They were just as valid then as now.

And the answer now should be the same as it was then: Yes, integrating women and homosexuals openly into combat units will result in increased tensions and the potential for abuse. It is the responsibility of the command structure to ensure that breeches of discipline are not tolerated and that every soldier receives the opportunity to excel in their role. It is a challenge. We are up to it.

And there will be incidents. Some of those incidents will be embarrassing. Others will be disgusting. That, too, is a price that must be paid.

Beleive me, anyone who thinks the armed forces are a utopia of racial understanding and tolerance has never spent more than 10 minutes on a duty post. I don’t hear anyone calling for a return to segregated units.

Centuries of prejudice and preconception are not erased overnight. They are not erased at all if we keep surrendering to them.