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Military Adopts "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

In 1994, the military adopted a new policy regarding LGBTQ+ service members: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In the past, military regulations stated that homosexuality or other LGBTQ+ identites necessitated an immediate discharge from military service. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, outlined here, allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve in the military only if they remained closeted and did not reveal the truth about themselves. Higher-ranking officers were instructed not to seek out information about service members’ sexual identities, although they could take action if the service member volunteered it. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed in 2010.

A person's sexual orientation is considered a personal and private matter, and is not a bar to service entry or continued service unless manifested by homosexual conduct in the manner described below. Applicants for enlistment, appointment, or induction shall not be asked or required to reveal whether they are heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. Applicants also will not be asked or required to reveal whether they have engaged in homosexual conduct, unless independent evidence is received indicating that an applicant engaged in such conduct or unless the applicant volunteers a statement that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect.

Source | Department of Defense. Qualification Standards for Enlistment, Appointment, and Induction. DOD Directive 1304.26. Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 1993.
Item Type | Government Document
Cite This document | “Military Adopts "Don't Ask, Don't Tell",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed February 23, 2024,



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