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Discharges Under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy: Women and Racial/Ethnic Minorities

  • Author(s): Gates, Gary J.
  • et al.

This research brief considers the historic impact of the US military’s “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy on women and racial/ethnic minorities. Enacted by the US Congress in 1993, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell prohibits lesbian, gay, or bisexual men and women from disclosing their sexual orientation while they serve in the US military. Since 1993, more than 13,000 individuals have been discharged for violating the DADT policy. Data presented in this brief show that the proportion of women and racial/ethnic minorities among those discharges has increased over time. In the late 1990s approximately a quarter of discharges were women and similar proportions were racial/ethnic minorities. In recent years, those proportions have increased to more than a third of the DADT discharges.

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