LGBT community + Military (Peyton Wannall (Transgender People: policy,…
LGBT community + Military
LGBTQ+ and the Veteran Community
"Blue Discharge" was an military initiative that was used against those of African American descent, as well as the LGBTQ+ Community. It was an effort that would without numerous LGBTQ+ military members from receiving their VA benefits (Sullivan, Mills, Dy 2016).
Many LGBTQ+ veteran are discouraged from attempting to collect their deserved VA benefits for fear of discrimination or judgement (Sullivan, Mills, Dy 2016).
A study showed that those who were LGBTQ+ in the military were prone to have higher levels of anxiety due to their sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ members of the military were also more prone to develop PTSD after being discharged from the military (Cochran et al. 2013).
It can be difficult for the Veterans Affairs to find adequate health care for those in the LGBTQ+ community due to biases that are held within the medical community. There are many cases of inadequate services, as well as denial for spouses visitation rights for same sex couples (Sharpe & Uchendu 2014).
A study showed that many LGBTQ+ veterans did not have an issue bringing up their sexual identity in psychotherapy, and most of the veterans found their sexual orientation as something that was impacting significantly their mental health (Vendlinski et al. 2018).
According to a survey, 22% of transgender veterans who sought or got services provided from the VA had experienced discrimination from doctors and 21% reported discrimination from other staff (Harrison-Quintana, & Herman, 2012).
The Womens Army Corps fostered an LGBTQ community during the Second World War. This gives sight on how the military changes its response to female LGBTQ community personnel and formed a foundation to current changes on LGBTQ servicemen and women treatment. (Philips, 2018)
Despite the repeal for Don't Ask Don't Tell and the updates with the Transgender policy there is still a concern with military sexual trauma (MST). Throughout this study men and women reported similar levels of sexual orientation discrimination in the military. These findings demonstrate the prevalence of MST and the point for a strong accountability and oversight to protect sexual minority personnel. (Gurung, Ventuneac, Rendina, Savarese, Grov and Parsons 2018)
The Don't Ask Don't Tell act implies that a serving member should not let the armed forces aware of ones sexual orientation. If it becomes aware to the military that a serving member engages in homosexual activity, same-sex marriage or tries to affirm sexual orientation the serving member will be considered a high risk. Senator Barack Obama promised if elected that he would repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. (Spitko, 2012)
Many Republican Congressmen and presidential candidates continue to express their support in Don't Ask Don't Tell. In previous years different media outlets have portrayed the LGBTQ community in a negative light by stereotyping. This study indicates many different attitudes towards homosexuals in the military.
Transgender People: policy, stigma, and medical coverage from U.S Military.
The Veteran's Health Administration enacted a policy in 2011 mandating the provision of health care provided to transgender individuals, that of which has yet to be updated (Elders, Brown, Coleman, Kolditz, & Steinman, 2014).
Over the past 5 or so years, a topic in the news has been on Transgender people and the military - specifically whether or not the U.S. military should provide coverage for their sex reassignment or transition surgery. We also know that the stigma of transgender people in society is heightened - and it is even more so amongst the military and within that hypermasculine and dichotomous community.
The Trump administration has been openly against Trans people in the military. This is causing stigma among Americans and also a fear among trans people to enter the Military. Trump tweeted on July 26, 2017 that he intended to ban transgender individuals from serving in the US Military “in any capacity,” also stating that “medical costs and disruption” were his reasoning. He commented that "he was doing the military a great favor” by banning transgender individuals from serving (Coon, Neira, & Lau, 2018)
Title IX prevents discrimination on the basis of sex, including the military, yet transgender individuals are still discriminated against (Anderson, 2018). With "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" mentality transgender individuals often get treated poorly in the Military as well as the social environment that soldiers are often in/create (Kerrigan, 2018).
According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 19% of surveyors were denied medical care because of their gender identity, 28% said they had been harassed in a medical setting, and 28% held off on medical care for an amount of time due to discrimination (Calton, Cattaneo, & Gebhard, 2016).
A study was conducted on the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and results showed that there were few negative consequences of military readiness just based on gender and sexual identity (Alford & Lee, 2016).
The transgender community, which is a part of the whole LGBTQ+ community in America, is one of the most marginalized groups of people not only in civilian but also in military life (Blosnich, Marsiglio, Gao, Gordon, Shipherd, Kauth, & Fine, 2016).
Of a survey conducted on Transgender veterans, only 18% of them went to VA hospitals for medical services out of fear of discrimination ((Harrison-Quintana, & Herman, 2012).
To further explain the stigma that exists within military personnel around LGBT including transgender individuals, there was a study done on LGBT youth within military families and results showed that many of the youth had elated fear than others on coming out, especially when transgender, because of a parent in the military (Gyura & McCauley, 2016).
Transgender individuals may be completely disqualified from joining the military based on genital surgery, as this is an area of assessment during interviewing and processing that happens when joining the military (Yerke & Mitchell, 2013). The Department of the Army (DoA) is also allowed to turn down any transgender individual because of major abnormalities or deformities that are considered a medical condition, especially in the genital area (Yerke & Mitchell, 2013).
Many health care providers within the military do not ask about sexual or gender orientation (Shrader, et al., (2017), p. 386). After the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," there were no educational programs that were offered to military health care providers (Shrader, et al., (2017), p. 386).
Because of the negative perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community, many health care providers deny health care services to military members who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community community (Sharpe & Uchendu (2014), p. 53). Unfortunately because of this, military health care providers are unable to see that these patients have particular health care needs (Sharpe & Uchendu, (2014), p. 53).
One of the goals of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to incorporate evidence-based health care that is specifically for transgender military members (Lutwak, et al., (2014), p. 483). This includes increased mental health services, forming support groups for transgender military members, etc. (Lutwak, et al. (2014), p. 483).
In the past, military health care providers had to report if a member was gay, which broke confidentiality between the patient and the health care provider (Biddix, et al., (2013), p. 1335). Many active duty members who identify as LGBTQ+ will not reveal that information to their health care providers because they fear they will be discharged (Biddix, et al., (2013), p. 1335).
There are several barriers to adequate health care for LGBTQ+ active duty military members. Some of these include discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, fear of disclosing personal information regarding sexual activity and behavior, and the stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community (Rerucha, et al., (2018), par. 2).
After the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell," there were limited policies regarding active duty LGBTQ+ military members as well as limited health care services offered to them (Alford & Lee, (2016), p. 259).
Post-DADT repeal surveys showed that over half of the participants reported that they would rather see a health care provider outside of the military to discuss sexual health issues (Campbell, et al., (2017), p. e1604). Other participants stated that military health care providers did not provide adequate health care to them (Campbell, et al., (2017), p. e1604).
LGBTQ+ and the Health Care System Within the Military