HOMOSEXUALS AND THE MILITARY: A Study of Less Than Honorable Discharge by Colin & M. Weinberg Williams

HOMOSEXUALS AND THE MILITARY: A Study of Less Than Honorable Discharge

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Prepared under the auspices of the Institute for Sex Research, Indiana University, this is an attempt to measure statistically the ""assumed psychic costs of being labeled deviant."" What are the social/psychic effects on homosexuals who are discovered during military service and summarily shafted with a Less than Honorable Discharge? The authors posited that LHD servicemen would have their deviant sexual identity reinforced by the 'labelling experience,' and thereafter show a greater tendency to shun heteros and feel abnormal, victimized and poorly adjusted than their gay confreres who escaped detection. On the whole these expectations were not fulfilled. The limited test populations -- obtained from the mailing lists of the Mattachine Society in New York and San Francisco's Society for Individual Rights -- yielded few meaningful correlations between Uncle Sam's official stigma and the ""quality and quantity"" of homosexual acts and life styles either before or after military service. Education, median income, proclivity to dress in 'drag' and attend gay bars, and the self-esteem of test and control groups were about the same; except for occasional employment problems ""adjustment does not seem too difficult."" En route to these negative conclusions some light is cast on military practice which still decrees the homosexual as automatically ""psychologically disturbed and a threat to the morale, morals and security of the armed forces."" Unfair, say the authors, since thousands pass through undiscovered and honorable and some of the stigmatized are ""Gung-ho"" military types anxious to ""do their duty."" The research, which is presented in heavy jargonese, doesn't prove much; and the perfunctory plea that the current ""unwise, unjust and immoral"" policies of the army be altered is not especially eloquent.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1971
Publisher: Harper & Row