Many members of the LGBT community are allowed to serve in the United States Army. The trend is not unique to the United States as it is possible in many other countries like Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Chile (Bronski, 2011, p. 67). A policy that accepts the LGBT in a particular society like the army is not to say that the members of the LGBT are immune to discrimination in the army. The presence of the LGBT in the army has various effects on the army officers within the army and the gay soldiers because it largely affects the way that they relate to the other members of the army and the kind of culture that they create for the army (Joshua Polchar, Tim Sweijs, Philipp Marten, & Galdiga, 2014, p. 84). The article takes a look at the effects of the presence of members of the LGBT community in the army.
Literature on LGBT in the Military
Accordig to Bronski (2011), beginning the year 1993, there has been an increase in the visibility of the people of the LGBT community (Bronski, 2011, p. 56). The proportion of people that say they know someone that is gay has increased from 42 percent in the year 1992 to 77 percent in the year 2015 (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 84). More than six among ten people living in American say that they have a working colleague or a friend that they say is a member of the LGBT community. The growth and the prevalence of the LGBT community have led to the need to have legislation that allows for the members of the community to be accepted into military service (Joshua Polchar, Tim Sweijs, Philipp Marten, & Galdiga, 2014, p. 35). An increase in the level of visibility is what has led more and more legislation to be made to protect members of the LGBT community against discrimination in army service.
The debate of 1993 also brought into the spotlight the issues of health that were known to be prevalent among the members of the LGBT community (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 84). For example research documents that HIV has more affinity to the members of the LGBT community. It was hence argued that allowing them to serve in the army would open up the army service to other diseases like HIV (Bronski, 2011, p. 74). It also remains a matter of contention for whether or not it is safe for them to be allowed to serve because blood due to injury could end up becoming fatal and could lead to death (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 83).
Research in the field of diversity within the military has continued to prove that the cohesion of a group of people influences their performance more than their performance influences their cohesion. In other words, the more diversified people become, the more, they learn to live with one another (Bronski, 2011, p. 34). The most important thing that holds the unit together is the shared kind of commitment and goals. The presence of the members of the LGBT community has hence led to a culture of tolerance and the ability to keep up with one another within the army (Bronski, 2011, p. 93). Because everyone has the same rights in the military, it is within the leadership of the military to ensure that they are successful at keeping all the members of the military content.
For an individual that works in the field of operational psychology, it is possible to relate with the members of the LGBT in the military since they are like any other member of the army and they do not require any special treatment (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 48). It is important to note however that the general feeling of the rest of the majority population is that they are a minority group and their opinions are treated as though it does not matter. There are issues that arise from the 1993 debate of allowing members of the LGBT community in military service (Bronski, 2011, p. 73). The military policy of 1981 that states that LGBT members are incompatible with the military service by their sexual orientation are based on the belief that the presence of the members of the LGBT community adversely affects the way that the other members of the military work with regards to discipline, morale and good order (Joshua Polchar, Tim Sweijs, Philipp Marten, & Galdiga, 2014, p. 48).
Operational psychologist ought to remain discreet about personal matters that affect the members of the LGBT community in the army lest it sparks off hidden contentions (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 83). The premise of modeled to means that the members of the LGBT community are a hindrance from good performance to the other members of the army. The flip side of the effect of the presence of members of the LGBT is that they can enjoy the same privileges and the advantages that their other counterparts enjoy (Bronski, 2011, p. 49). The policy of 1981 also brings to question the ability of the military to recruit and maintain a force if it is allowed to recruit the members of the LGBT community.
The good performance of a unit does not so much depend on how much the members of the unit like one another. Personal trust is all that is required to keep the members of a professional unit performing (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 84). The inclusion of the members of the LGBT community has essentially acted as a check to the professionalism of the members of the army community. The culture of the army has and continues to be shaped by the presence of the members of the LGBT community in many ways (Bronski, 2011, p. 38). Cohesion in combat does not accrue from the shared and preconceived values but rather from the belief in the mission that the members of the army are about to undertake.
Finally, I believe that the most salient concern that a person working in the field of industrial psychology needs to address with regards to the issue of the LGBT is social acceptance and the ability to get married within the army (Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, 2014, p. 37). Members of the LBGT community deserve their rights just as everyone else does. The rates of HIV prevalence and infections have continued to reduce due to the ability of the people to reveal their status. The rates of substance abuses and cases of mental disorders have essentially been reduced along with the rates of people committing suicide due to social in acceptance.
Bronski, M. (2011). A Queer History of the United States. New York: Routledge.
Joshua Polchar, Tim Sweijs, Philipp Marten, & Galdiga, J. (2014). LGBT Military Personnel: A Strategic Vision for Inclusion. New York: Routledge.
Karen Rose Blaisure, Tara Saathoff-Wells, & Pereira, . (2014). Serving Military Families: Theories, Research, and Application. New York: Routledge.
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