Military 2% Gay
How gay is the U.S. military?
An estimated 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people are serving in the U.S. military, roughly 2 percent of all military personnel, according to a report released Tuesday by a gay rights policy center. The figures suggest a slight increase in the number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military, and they provide opponents of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with fresh data as they lobby the Obama administration for its repeal.
Gays, lesbians and bisexuals account for about 13,000 active duty service members, equal to less than 1 percent currently deployed, the report estimated. About 53,000 others serve in the National Guard and reserves, equaling about 3.4 percent.
The actual number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals serving in uniform is unknown; the military does not track such figures. The research brief was released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a public policy institute that studies sexual orientation law.
Its authors used a variety of statistical methods to arrive at the estimate, drawing in part on the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey and the 2000 Census, in which some people identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and as serving in the military. A similar 2004 study, widely quoted by gay rights advocates and supportive lawmakers, estimated that roughly 65,000 gay people were serving in the military.
There’s no way to know, really, since gays can’t openly serve in the military. But it strikes me as incredibly unlikely that a self-selected group that actively excludes homosexuals — and where gay jokes are a 24 hour enterprise — would happen to have the same percentage of homosexuals as society as a whole.
Regardless, there’s not much doubt that the actual numbers of gays in the military is non-zero and non-trivial. And, yet, we’re somehow managing to fight two major wars, a handful of undeclared smaller ones, and a major humanitarian relief effort without issue. Or, at least, issues related to the sexual orientation of those serving.
Non-statistical aside: Doing a Google Image search for “gay military” is not advisable for those at work.
Story via Gabriel Malor.