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Message to gay soldiers: It's your army too
Date:8/18/2011

As the U.S. military prepares for the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), policymakers are looking to other military bodies around the world that have successfully integrated gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) soldiers into military service. Now a new study from Tel Aviv University suggests that an integrated support and education dimension is essential to the successful assimilation of these soldiers into the U.S. armed forces.

Dr. Guy Shilo of TAU's Bob Shapell School of Social Work has completed the only quantitative study detailing the LGB experience in the military. While the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) technically maintain an open-door policy to service by LGB soldiers, soldiers continue to experience anxiety and harassment surrounding their sexual orientation, Dr. Shilo found. The best solution is an educational system for all service people across the military spectrum, he concludes.

Dr. Shilo's original research was contained in a report to the Pentagon about the repeal of DADT. This year's study, a follow-up to Dr. Shilo's 2006 report on the situation of LGB soldiers in the IDF, was commissioned by and presented to the Israeli Gay Youth Organization.

Harassment in the field

Until the 1990's, outwardly gay soldiers were subject to several restrictions on their military service in Israel. They were frequently discharged from service, prohibited from serving in high security positions, or sent to mental health officers to determine their fitness to serve, Dr. Shilo explains. And while such official restrictions have since been abolished, LGB soldiers still report that they are treated with intolerance.

After hearing word of continued harassment and stress in openly-gay soldiers, Dr. Shilo and his fellow researchers developed a quantitative study, designed to survey the experience of LGB soldiers. They used the same parameters as those defined for female soldiers in the military and sexual minoritie
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Message to gay soldiers: It's your army too
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