Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What percent of homosexuals have served in the military?

I see that a proposal to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" ban against gays serving openly in the military is expected to be voted on in Congress perhaps this week.  That got me wondering what percent of gay men and lesbians actually serve in the military.

 GSS respondents were asked: "Have you ever been on active duty for military training or service for two consecutive months or more?"
According to my analysis, 20.4 percent of gay men (compared to 36.1 percent of straight men) and 21.6 percent of lesbians have served (compared to 1.4 percent of straight women). (All the estimates seem high, except for the hetero women, but the question was asked 1974-1994, so that probably explains it.)
So if we assume that 3 percent of all men are gay and 1.5 percent of all women are lesbian, "don't ask, don't tell" has been an issue for close to 1 in 200 Americans. 


  1. Anonymous6:20 AM

    1 in 200. In other words, who cares. It is a non issue. The folks in the media use gay issues to prove to themselves how much power they have by constantly bringing up an issue that no one cares about. No one would even think about it were it not for the constant yammering by the media. They are the tail wagging the dog.

  2. I would disagree with anon. This is a very significant part of that minority group. Too bad we don't have recent records.

    The decision to serve in the military is a basic part of citizenship. I understand the straight soldier's reluctance, but didn't they all go to PE class in high school and take showers with all the other boys, including the gays?

    We knew who the gays were then, but we still had to take those showers.

  3. The female numbers from questions asked in 1974-1994 give a better indication of the situation in the modern volunteer army, because women were never drafted. You see a huge difference among women between straight and gay in military service.

    In contrast, most of the men who served in the military served during the draft years 1941-1972. They were either drafted or volunteered under the spur of the draft. (There might not have been a draft for a few years in the late 1940s, I don't recall.)

    Can you look at male numbers for those born after, say, 1954? Is the sample size big enough?

    My prediction would be that for volunteer army era cohorts of men, you'll see about a 5 to 1 ratio in likelihood of having served.


What's the profile of a person who believes astrology is scientific? (Answer: the exact opposite of me)

Clearly, anyone who believes that astrology is scientific doesn't understand what science is, but how common is this belief, and what...