Sexual Orientation and Military Service

  • The APA hailed the Senate's vote to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."
    "This long-awaited action is an important step toward allowing gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to serve openly and honorably in the armed forces," said APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD. "Repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy will lift a heavy psychological burden of secrecy from gay, lesbian and bisexual military personnel." Press Release (December 2010)

  • Pentagon and Congress Should Act Quickly to End Gay Military Ban, APA Says
    APA urged both the Pentagon and Congress to move swiftly to end the restrictions on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, noting that there are decades of scientific research demonstrating no threat to military readiness. Press Release (February 2010)

  • Report of the APA Joint Divisional Task Force on Sexual Orientation & Military Service (PDF, 485KB)
    From the Society of Military Psychology (Division 19) & Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Issues (Division 44) Joint Task Force on Sexual Orientation & Military Service

  • 2004 APA Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Military Service and other recommendations of the APA Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service. Adopted by the APA Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004

  • Sexual Orientation and Military Service
    This briefing sheet has been prepared as a resource for advocacy regarding the current US policy on sexual orientation and military service. The APA Board of Directors established the Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service in October 2003, to consider issues of common concern between Division 19 and Division 44, including the APA ban on advertising by the U.S. Military in APA publications.

  • Report of the APA Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service (2004) (PDF, 93KB)
    The American Psychological Association (APA) opposes the current U.S. policy of discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons in military service. This stance reflects the APA Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation and Military Service, adopted by the APA Council of Representatives in July 2004. In this policy statement, the association reaffirmed its opposition to discrimination based on sexual orientation and its commitment to disseminating scientific knowledge to ameliorate the negative effects of the current law through training and education.

Amicus Briefs

  • BenShalom v. Marsh, 1989. Whether the US Army may constitutionally deny reenlistment to any serviceperson who declares him/herself to have a homosexual orientation.

  • Watkins v. United States Army, 1989. Whether US Army regulations requiring the discharge of lesbians and gay men and barring them from reenlisting were unconstitutional.

Resources Related to Gays in the Military

Division 19/Division 44 Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service

A joint task force between the Society of Military Psychology, APA Division 19, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues, APA Division 44, to develop a plan for the implementation of the APA Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation and Military Service.

The plan will include:

  • Advocacy,

  • Data collection,

  • Professional education,

  • Article submissions to publications,

  • Public and member information, and

  • Inter-divisional collaboration.

Research