Throughout history, homosexuality has been a complicating factor for men and women electing to serve in the armed forces of the United States. The right to serve became increasingly complicated when the Department of Defense responded to congressional legislation in 1993 by adopting a policy that later became known as "don’t ask, don’t tell" (DADT). DADT permitted homosexual members to serve in the forces, so long as they showed no evidence of homosexual behavior. The compromise policy remained in force until Congress passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and finally, in September 2011, the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the US armed forces officially came to an end. Reflecting on the 20-year period governed by DADT, this volume explores the history, culture, attitudes and impacts of policy evolution from the mid-20th Century through to the present day. It not only provides insight to the scholarly field of how the most powerful institution in the world has viewed and dealt with homosexuality as it transitioned into the 21st century, but it is also poised to become a seminal collection for researchers in the decades to come.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality.
"Parco and Levy have produced a fine edited volume dedicated to deepening our understanding of the federal DADT policy. What has resulted is a deep analysis of the federal policies regarding gays and lesbians in the U.S. military. This volume is filled with rich descriptions and analyses written by the very best thinkers about issues pertaining to gays and lesbians in the U.S. military. Parco and Levy not only offer a comprehensive treatment of DADT, but their book will stand the test of time and spur additional important research about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer service members. The Rise and Fall of DADT is accessibly written and offers readers a comprehensive understanding of the DADT federal policy and the attendant issues of equity, social justice and ever-changing attitudes about LGBTQ people related to the U.S. military and to the larger American society."
John P. Elia, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Homosexuality and Professor and Associate Chair of Health Education at San Francisco State University, USA
"As Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from 2010 to 2012, and the first openly-gay senior official to serve at the Pentagon, I was witness to and honored to be an active participant in the historic process that led to the ban on discrimination against lesbian and gay service members: men and women who had been hiding in plain sight while risking their lives to serve their country honorably. In this volume, Jim Parco and Dave Levy provide what is perhaps the most comprehensive account to date of the evolution of US government policy regarding LGBT service members. Their study includes outstanding firsthand narratives by many friends who played central roles in the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t tell, including Sue Fulton, Jonathan Lee and former Congressman Patrick Murphy. Parco and Levy provide the opportunity for scholars, experts and ordinary citizens from all walks of life to share in those journeys and in the very positive results that were achieved."
Douglas B. Wilson, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for the United States
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