Definitions

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  • initialism lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer(and sometimes questioning)

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  • The military has a long history of discriminating against servicemembers who either were or were perceived to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ). That history of discrimination included the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy in place from 1994 to 2011, as well as predecessor policies that were even more harsh, and extends to the current ban on service by openly transgender individuals. Under DADT and prior policies, between the end of World War II and the repeal of DADT, over 100,000 servicemembers were discharged with bad paper discharge because of their actual or perceived LGBTQ status. In addition, thousands of LGBTQ servicemembers were discharged with bad paper for behaviors—interpreted as inexcusable misconduct—that stemmed from the trauma of having to conceal their sexual or gender identity or were discharged for pretextual reasons, such as minor misconduct, when the true cause was discrimination against them due to their LGBTQ status.16 The nation’s history of discrimination against LGBTQ servicemembers is therefore another cause of bad paper discharges that is perpetuated when these veterans are turned away from VA without being allowed to apply.

    March 10, 2020