Lesbian, gay, and bisexual victimization in the military: An unintended consequence of "don't ask, don't tell"?

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82 Scopus citations


The integration of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals into the U.S. military is a long-standing and politically and socially divisive issue. Exclusionary and pseudo-inclusionary policies that restrict openly LGB individuals from military service are also of long duration. Yet LGB servicemembers have continued to serve covertly in the military for many decades. Moreover, political issues and social conventions associated with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) have diverted focus from imperative research issues, such as LGB servicemembers and incidents of victimization in the military. Research is reviewed to evaluate such victimization, which is conceptualized as resulting from a convergence of sexual stigma, conservative gender role beliefs, and sexual prejudice. DADT, in combination with overarching difficulties intrinsic to sexual orientation research, serves to augment LGB victimization and reduce victim reports and help seeking. Consequently, there is a deficient evidence base for assisting LGB servicemembers and for advancing research, prevention efforts, and policy changes. Implications of repealing DADT are discussed, as are future directions for LGB military research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-613
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Military
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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