LGBT Airman Describes Negative Impact to Morale

An official Air Force article entitled “Monster in the closet: An Airman fights prejudice” contradicts its own title as it describes a homosexual Airman who does not experience (or fight) prejudice in the Air Force.

Interestingly, though, she relates a story that counters the mainstream idea that the open service by homosexuals in the US military was a “non-event” [emphasis added]:

“I knew an LGBT Airman who deployed after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and made a friend of the same sex. After the Airman came out to his good friend, who he was not sexually interested in, his friend ostracized him. It made the deployment harder for both men…”

So a homosexual “coming out” to a military peer negatively impacted morale in the deployed combat environment.  Anecdote, yes.  However, it may indicate a crack in the otherwise uniform presentation of the impact of the open acceptance of homosexuality in the US military.

Reports two years ago that 20% of units that had a homosexual “come out” suffered negative impacts were largely ignored, as was the DoD report that said DADT repeal had not had a positive effect on military readiness.

By contrast, a variety of reports over the past few years indicate members of the military who expressed their religious views on homosexuality were threatened or punished by their chain of command, even when they were speaking in otherwise private settings apart from their military environment.  Given the importance of religious belief even in the American culture, it does not seem unforeseeable that such official reactions might negatively impact the morale of service members who have strong religious beliefs — even if no one speaks up to say so, since speaking up itself could similarly be punished.