top of page

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Military

Prior to 1993, by military regulation, homosexuality was incompatible with military service.  This was the policy despite the fact that thousands of gays and lesbians had served in the military since the inception of the United States.  In 1993, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law was enacted with the proviso that homosexual service members could serve but they could not disclose their sexual orientation, at risk of discharge from the service.  .

Serving under such restrictions meant a continuous shadow hanging over your head wondering if someone would guess, spot you in a gay bar, assume that if you played softball (women) that you must be gay. Women would be threatened with providing sexual favors in lieu of being outed as being a lesbian even if they were not. 


Prior to DADT, witchhunts had taken place during WWII and after, to ferret out those who might be gay.  Over the years more than 100,000 gays and lesbians were booted out of the military, not for misconduct, but for being homosexual.  Even during the 17 years of DADT over 13,000 servicemembers were discharged for being homosexual.

DADT focused on homosexual service members and did not address transgender service members.  Transgender service members served without restrain until 1960.  From 1960 to 2016 transgendered service members were prohibited from enlisting or serving.  In June 2016 Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that transgender service members, could continue to serve without fear of discharge. This comprised about 15,000 members. The Trump administration reversed this policy so that from by April 2019 through January 2021 transgendered individuals were barred from service and those serving could only do so in their biological sex.  

As of 30 April 2021, President Biden's revised policy will enable transgender to continue to serve and enlist in the military in their self identified gender.

For stability of the military and service members, Congress must enact a law to permit open service regardless of orientation or gender identity..

In appreciation to those who have served under this prejudicial policy I salute you for your service to country.


COL Margarethe Cammermeyer RN, PhD, USAR, ret

    Transgender Troop Policy update 

The regulations for full inclusive service will become effective 30 April 2021 consistent with the executive order of 25 Jan 2021 revoking the transgender ban.  Trangender service members can serve in their self-identified gender.

The Biden policy is virtually identical to the 2016 Obama policy.  The policy includes Retention, Accession, Transition, Medical Care, and Non-Discrimination provisions.  The additions of the Biden policy are that it applies to ROTC and academy cadets and other previso.

Currently about 15,000 transgender service members serve in all branches of the military.  The medical coast is estimated at $3 million per years versus the $41.6 million spent annually on Viagra.

Abstracted from The Palm Center memo (6 April 2021) memo regarding transgender service members

       Belated Help Available


Of the 100,000 GLBT service members discharged, many had less than honorable discharges.  Those discharges would prevent veterans benefits, bar treatment and could effect employment opportunities in the future.

On the next page are suggestions on how to proceed to upgrade those discharged so you get the recognition you deserve and benefits.

Another page directs you to the VA.

The Veterans Administration is now recognize the emotional, sexual, and physical trauma experienced by GLBT service members and can offer support.

You deserve the benefits and help you are entitled to in appreciation of your service.

bottom of page