Over the decade the ago, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer group has made considerate gains legally and politically in the United States and other countries. Amidst this gradual development of countries having changed attitudes that are more tolerant towards homosexuality in the general society, the focus has shifted to the military. In recent, the acceptable degree of the gays and lesbians in the military has stirred public debate in many countries with the United States and Russia topping the group. Both the gays and lesbians have been allowed to serve in the military though; they have been subjected to hiding their sexual orientation in addition to discriminatory policies and actions. The famous “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy in American military and similar policies adopted in Russia are at the stake of discrimination in military services based on sexual orientation. This discrimination has influence equal rights recognition for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer with the specific focus on the ban of discrimination policies in military services.
The history of the gays in the military dates back in the 1700s since when discriminatory military treatment of same-sex people began. Gays underwent mistreatment as if they were criminals and less subjected to human treatments. The early 1900s saw the gays in the military subjected to punishment at the court-martial under Miscellaneous Crimes and Offences. This led to more hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in the military services arguing that they were unfit to fight. The discriminatory treatment of gays as criminals and completely unequal level continued into the 1940s during and after World War II. In the 1950s and 60s during the cold war, same-sex people were seen as dangerous people who were a threat to the security of the nation as Communists. The Lavender Scare set in where the homosexuals persecuted and employees who were deemed homosexuals rooted from the employment. The military on its part started psychological screening to keep out gays and those who showed sexual perversion signs.
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prevented military service men and women who were deemed as gays and lesbians from serving honestly and openly. It was an initial proposal by Bill Clinton who suggested that those military men who acknowledged homosexuality to be discharged. This was because such as person intended to engage in homosexuality. The policy forced gays and lesbians in the military to hide as they feared that they would be dishonorably discharged. It was suppression of people who were being themselves and those who wished to serve the country without having a feeling of oppression. The discriminatory “Don’t Ask, The Congress repealed Don’t Tell” policy in 2010. During the same year, the Federal Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional since it infringed the service members and prospective service members’ fundamental rights and took away their freedom of speech.
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” did not end to the discrimination against LGBTQ military servicemen since there is ongoing discrimination beyond this military rights. Gay and lesbian veterans are not allowed to receive spousal benefits unless they live in a same-sex marriage state. There have been broad exemptions established for religious views of military men that make it easier for gay and lesbians’ troops to undergo easier harassment by service members. Also, no transgender Americans are allowed to serve in any capacity while the kicked out veterans have not had their discharge upgrade.
The U.S military procedure serves as a hindrance to civil rights of the service members on various aspects of human rights guaranteed for a citizen. The right for expression is guaranteed for any citizen. However, for military personnel, the freedom of expression may differ since this right depends on the prudent and calm judgment of the commander who is responsible. The same applies to their right to free speech does not immune service members from subsequent punishment in case it violates the law. The criminal laws that military men are supposed to abide by include respecting superiors and not discussing official matters outside the military unless authorized.
In the historical perspective, the idea of the symphony of authorities was behind the Byzantine Empire that was associated with the close relationship between the church and the state. This relationship was based on the principle of St. Justinian that demanded the church authority take care of divine affairs as the government took care of human affairs. There was an agreement between the church and the state to work together to benefit the human race. Thus, the relationship between the church and the state power was priesthood and temporal power to each other.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender group are faced with many challenges ranging from legal to social in Russia. Despite the decriminalizing of homosexual activities in private, most Russians view homosexuals as ineligible for legal protections enjoyed by other groups. Russia currently has no laws that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, which is all indicative that homosexuality is subjected to any form of discrimination. Since 1999, the medical classification of queerness has identified and classified homosexuality as a mental illness. This classification has cast suspicion on the ability of homosexuals to perform in the military. Legally, lesbians and gays serve and are allowed to do so in the military; there is that element of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” From the recent survey, public opinion seems to be hostile toward homosexuality thus rising the intolerance level each day. The highest percent close to 75% do not support homosexuality in the society with most of them holding that it is wrong and lesbians and gays should be discriminated.
As late as 1993, the law prohibited any same-sex acts in Russia and was considered a mental disorder that was based on to deny same-sex entry into the military. Later, in 2003, the military medical expertise statute that prohibited people who could not identify themselves sexual from joining the military unless it was war times. The new medical statute allowed all people to join military irrespective of their sexual orientation. Senator Konstantin Dobrynin, however, had proposed the adoption of “don’t ask, don’t tell” into law. He noted the need for Russia to work towards having a balanced law for what is good for the country. Even though homosexuals are not prohibited in military joining, they are subjected to welcomed discrimination within. The recruits are searched in their genitals and buttocks looking for tattoos that identify gay victims. They are also required to give their sexual history to determine if they are gays. Also, the military procedure only allows service members to abide by the law that requires them not to discuss official matters outside the military. They also lack any union to represent them and are not allowed to picket openly in public.
In comparison between the United States and Russia on matters of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, it is evident that the two countries have moved towards recognizing the right of these groups. Up to 2010, the U.S “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which was in operation was repealed by the Congress to allow the open and honest serving of all service members irrespective of their sexual orientation. Similarly, in Russia, the medical classification of queerness that brought to end lesbians and gays from being seen as people with mental illness allowed all people to join the military. However, there are still many elements that define the continued discrimination of lesbians and gays, especially in military service. In the US, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy did not clear on the treatment of the service veterans going forward especially those kicked out. Many of them are still subjected to discrimination. Similarly, in Russia, recruits in the military are subjected to screening that intent to exclude those perceived as LGBTQ.
Conclusively, it is clear that the world at large demands for the civil rights of all groups including the LGBTQ people. Basing on the activities in the United States and Russia, countries have moved towards ensuring the rights of every individual. Though there is much to be done to assure rights to citizens, much has been done and continue to be done. Fundamentally, whether based on sexual orientation or something else, there is a need for all countries to abide by the constitution and respect what is provided including protecting the civil rights of its people.
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