One Equal World

US Ranks Low in LGBT Military Index

Posted on: February 25, 2014


The US ranks low on the LGBT equality index.
Image: Shutterstock

An independent research group of the Dutch Ministry of Defense released a global ranking of countries based on their level of inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members in their armed forces today. Countries were judged on their level of inclusion, admission and tolerance of LGBT service members.

The top ranked countries on that list are New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The United States is ranked 40 out of 103 countries, behind countries like Chile, Georgia and Cuba.

Although the U.S. has already repealed its controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, it has a lesser known ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces that dragged the country down to the lower ranking.

In a document obtained by The Guardian, the Department of Defense (DOD) states that applicants can be rejected if there is a “current or history of psychosexual conditions, transsexualism, exhibitionism, trasvestism, voyeurism and other paraphilias.”

There have been several advancements in the past year for the United States. Last year the Supreme Court struck down portions of the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which made it illegal for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages.

Since that change, same-sex married couples have become eligible to jointly file their income tax, receive spousal death benefits and a host of other benefits previously afforded only to heterosexual married couples.

There are currently five court cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in conservative states such as Missouri. Many of the challenges are expected to make their way to the Supreme Court.

Most recently, the Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will also amend its policies to treat same-sex married couples the same as heterosexual couples. The change allows gay couples to invoke “marital privilege” in court, file for bankruptcy together and have the same visitation rights in federal prison as their heterosexual counterparts.

The Hague Center will issue a full report based on the LGBT military index in May. The rankings are available here.


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