Integration of the LGBTQ Community Into the US Military

Charged with protecting our country against all enemies, members of the US Military (in the Army, Navy, Airforce, and Marines) should be viewed as heroes; individuals who put their own well-being and even lives in danger to protect us and our freedoms.

Those who volunteer to join the military are incredibly selfless, and we are all grateful for their service. It stands to reason that all who are able and willing should be welcome to serve.  However, this was not always the case. The timeline shared below highlights the history of the LGBTQ community and its integration in the US Military.

LGBTQ Timeline

  • Early 1940s: Being gay or lesbian was deemed to be a mental illness and disqualified those individuals from service.

  • Pre-1982: Criminalization existed for same-sex relations in the military; those who were caught faced discharge.

  • 1982: Military policy bans gay men and lesbians from serving.

  • 1993: Don’t ask - don’t tell policy goes into effect. Members of the military could not be asked about their sexual orientation, but sharing it could be reason for discharge.

  • 2011: Openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals are permitted to serve in the military.

  • 2013: Spousal and family benefits provided to married same-sex partners in the military.

  • 2021: Transgender military ban is lifted.

While today the military shares their commitment to diversity, many members of the LGBTQ community often still feel unwelcome. In order to combat these feelings, support from those of a higher rank who are serving is critical. The behaviors of these individuals can impact both mental and physical well-being.

All service members, including those who identify as LGBTQ, should be able to reach out to their superiors with concerns and know that they will be properly addressed and not ignored. LGBTQ support groups exist in many areas and can be a valuable resource.

Members of the LGBTQ nation have and will continue to make a positive impact on our armed forces and our country.  Helping them succeed benefits us all.

At Rainbow Depot, we are thankful to all of those who serve in the military and protect us each and every day.