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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 27, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 21
OutServe shows 78% of LGBT soldiers out to fellow troops
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OutServe shows 78% of LGBT soldiers out to fellow troops

OutServe shows 78% of LGBT soldiers out to fellow troops by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On May 23, OutServe, the network of LGBT actively serving military members, released results of one of the largest surveys of LGBT personnel in the U.S. military ever.

According to the organization, OutServe members responded to questions on the quality of implementation training, the climate within their units, expectations of their peers post-repeal, and whether their units know they are Gay, among other things.

The survey, conducted online and done anonymously by 224 LGBT uniformed DoD and Coast Guard personnel, was compiled between April 28 through May 16 of this year.

Since survey respondents were self-selected, the survey is not authoritative, but it could be viewed as a likely indication of the current status of LGBT troops.

An overwhelming 78% of the respondents indicated that they were 'out' to at least some in their unit, and 28% responded they had 'come out' since the DADT repeal bill was signed in December 2010. Of those who've gone through DADT repeal training, 85% indicated that training had been conducted 'very professionally' to neutral, with only 14.8% reporting that they thought the training was less than professional.

'This confirms what we've been hearing from individual OutServe members, that troops are known to be Gay, with no negative impact, and that DADT repeal training has generally been conducted with professionalism,' said OutServe spokesperson Jonathan Hopkins, former Army Captain and veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. 'Politicians may still be kicking this around, but our military folks are getting on with it. The few issues we may have with training can track directly to the quality of leadership. Good leaders are executing this well.'

According to OutServe officials, at the time of the survey, 30% of respondents still had not received the training. The Pentagon has reported plans to complete all training by August 15.

OutServe says some reports indicate that fewer than 25% of personnel have finished DADT repeal training - primarily due to Army Reserve and Guard components, where fewer than 10% have been trained. This should improve dramatically once summer starts and many of these troops report to training.

It is important to note that the Pentagon has not officially released any numbers, and there is some dispute over whether current statistics are outdated.

More importantly, Pentagon officials have said repeatedly that certification is not necessarily dependent on fully completing the DADT training.

Additionally, the OutServe survey provided insight into the comfort of LGBT troops with the climate in their units. A full two-thirds of respondents expect their post-repeal work environment to be at least 'generally free' from discrimination, and another 28% expect their colleagues' response to be 'mixed.' Fewer than 5% expect mostly negative response. Sixty percent even indicated they were 'likely' to feel comfortable enough to take a partner to military events.

OutServe is a network of actively serving members of the U.S. Armed Services who identify as LGBT. For more information, go to www.outserve.org.

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