Being Gay in the Military

A new report says that sexual orientation doesn't really matter when it comes to job performance

As if we didn’t already know it, a new report from the Palm Center at the Williams Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles tested whether being out in the military had any bearing on performance. Turns out being gay (or straight) doesn’t seem to make much of a difference when it comes to doing one’s job – and doing it well. In fact, the report found that there’s no real evidence to suggest that sexuality has anything to do with how well a soldier performs his or her duties.

Prior to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the report says that banning openly gay and lesbian personnel from serving in the military rested on the belief that being out would cause a certain amount of discomfort among heterosexuals. But the report analyzed data from six years ago among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans that showed a decline in support of DADT.

“War veterans argued that the strongest argument against the ban is that sexual orientation is unrelated to job performance and that the strongest argument in favor of the ban is projected negative impact on the unit cohesion,” say the authors Bonnie Moradi and Laura Miller in the report.

But it turns out that unit cohesion has little to do with who someone sleeps with. “The quality of leaders, the quality of equipment and the quality of training are critical factors associated with unit cohesion and readiness,” say the authors. “The top endorsed argument in support of integration considered sexual orientation to be unrelated to job performance.”