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Talking About Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The Bottom Line

A solid majority of Americans (77%, according to a December 2010 ABC News/Washington Post poll) support allowing gay service members to serve openly in the U.S. military. And as the repeal process for the law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is under way, the ban on open service by gay and lesbian troops continues to be part of the national conversation.

Talking About Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, written before the repeal process began in 2010, focuses on ensuring that discussions about repeal remain centered on the vital need for a strong military, emphasize the financial and personnel costs of DADT, and illustrate how DADT has put our country at risk by discharging essential service members just because they’re gay.

  • Talking About Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell Download

Authors

  • Movement Advancement Project
  • GLAAD

Contributing Editors

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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