“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Disproportionately Affecting Black Women

By Jorge Rivas Feb 03, 2010

Besides Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no other military policy that raises as much controversy as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT.) Yesterday Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a panel of Senators that they supported President Obama’s proposal to repeal the 1993 Clinton era law forbidding gay men and women to be open about their sexuality while serving in uniform. This story has made headline news across the world. But what we haven’t heard is, who’s really being affected by this? From The Task Force study, Black same-sex households in the United States: A report from the 2000 Census:

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" has been used to kick Black women out of the military at a much higher rate than other groups. In fact, Black women are discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at three times the rate that they serve in the military. Although Black women make up less than one percent of servicemembers, they comprise 3.3% of those discharged under the policy.

But wait, it gets better. The same report notes people can be discharged under DADT even if they are not gay or lesbian, apparently there are cases where men have accused women who refuse unwanted sexual advances of being lesbians, or because the women are successful and some men do not want to serve under them. Read the entire report Black same-sex households in the United States: A report from the 2000 Census here.