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Timeline of Gays in the U.S. Military

Military/Gay Timeline:1778, "Baron Frederich von Steuben, one of Europe's greatest military minds and a homosexual man, is engaged to train and discipline the disparate armies of the thirteen rebellious American colonies.", "After being discovered in bed with a private, Lt. Gotthold Frederick Enslin becomes the first know soldier to be dismissed from the U.S. military for homosexuality."

Military/Gay Timeline:1916, "Punishment of homosexual soldiers is first codified in American military law. The Articles of War, which take effect the following year, include `assault with the intent to commit sodomy' as a capital crime."

Military/Gay Timeline:1919, "A revision of the Articles of War of 1916 includes the act of sodomy itself as a felony.", "Dispatching a squad of young enlisted men to act as decoys, the U.S. Navy initiates a search for `sexual perverts' at the Newport, Rhode Island Naval Training Station. Based on information the plants gather, twenty sailors and sixteen civilians are arrested on morals charges by naval and municipal authorities. This is the first known attempt to purge homosexuals from the military."

Military/Gay Timeline:1920-1930s, "Homosexuality continues to be treated as a criminal act and thousands of gay soldiers and sailors are imprisoned. The military's move to transform homosexuality from a crime to an illness does not take place until the massive mobilization of World War II."

Military/Gay Timeline:1941-1945, "Nearly ten thousand enlisted people receive dishonorable `blue discharges' for homosexuality from the armed forces, so called because they are typed on blue paper."

Military/Gay Timeline:1942, "The Armed Forces release the first regulations instructing military psychiatrists to discriminate between homosexual and `normal' service members. Those who `habitually or occasionally engaged in homosexual or other perverse sexual practices' are deemed `unsuitable for military service'."

Military/Gay Timeline:1943, "Final regulations are issued banning homosexuals from all branches of military service. These have remained in effect for the last fifty years, with only slight modifications."

Military/Gay Timeline:1950, "The U.S. Congress establishes the Uniform Code of Military Justice which sets down the basic policies, discharge procedures and appeal channels for the disposition of homosexual service members."

Military/Gay Timeline:1957, "A 639 page Navy report, called the Crittenden Report for the captain who headed the committee, concludes that there is `no sound basis' for the charge that homosexuals in the military pose a security risk. The Pentagon denies the existence of this report for nearly twenty years.", "Federal courts rule that military personnel may appeal military court decisions to civil courts. This allows lesbians and gay men discharged for homosexuality to appeal to civil courts."

Military/Gay Timeline:1966, "Gay groups stage the first demonstrations protesting the treatment of lesbians and gays in the military."

Military/Gay Timeline:1975, "After being dismissed for homosexuality, Sgt. Leonard Matlovich sues the Air Force to be reinstated. Matlovich is thrust into national attention when he is featured on the cover of Time magazine with the headline `I Am a Homosexual: The Gay Drive for Acceptance'. NBC subsequently makes a TV movie of his story. His suit drags on until 1980 when a federal judge orders Matlovich reinstated. Instead of re-entering the Air Force, Matlovich accepts a settlement of $160,000. Matlovich becomes a gay rights activist and dies of AIDS in 1988."

Military/Gay Timeline:1981, "During the last week of the Carter administration, Deputy Secretary of Defense Graham Claytor issues a revision in his department's policy to state for the first time that `homosexuality is incompatible with military service.' Though Claytor notes that this is not officially a change in policy, the revision is designed to make clear that homosexuality is grounds for discharge. The revision is implemented by the Reagan administration."

Military/Gay Timeline:1986, "Discharged lesbian drill sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom wins a ten year battle with the U.S. Army Reserves when a court orders her reinstatement."

Military/Gay Timeline:1987, "U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Joseph Steffan, at the top of his class, is discharged six weeks prior to graduation because, when asked if he was gay, he answered honestly. Though a three judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals rules in Steffan's favor in 1994 and orders his reinstatement, the government appeals the decision to a full panel of judges. In a major setback in early 1995, the full Court of Appeals upholds Steffan's dismissal."

Military/Gay Timeline:1989, "Members of Congress who support lifting the military ban release draft copies of two internal Pentagon reports that find homosexuals in the military pose no security risk and in many cases make better soldiers than heterosexuals."

Military/Gay Timeline:1990, "Sgt. Perry Watkins wins a ten year court battle against the Army, which discharged him in 1981 for homosexuality.", "ROTC cadet James Holobaugh is discharged from the corps on the grounds of homosexuality and ordered to repay his $25,000 scholarship."

Military/Gay Timeline:1992, "The General Accounting Office reports that almost seventeen thousand service men and women were discharged for homosexuality between 1981 and 1990, at a cost of $493,195,968 to replace them.", "Presidential candidate Bill Clinton promises, if elected, to repeal the military's ban on gay and lesbian service members, because there is no legitimate justification for the exclusionary policy.", "The Navy Reserve Officers' Training Corps program creates a policy requiring midshipmen to sign an affidavit stating that they agree with the military's ban on homosexuals and will refund scholarship money if they are found to be gay."

Military/Gay Timeline:1993, "January: President Clinton issues a Presidential Memorandum instructing Defense Secretary Les Aspin to develop by July of that year an `Executive Order ending discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in determining who will serve in the Armed Forces'. At the same time, Clinton issues an interim policy that preserves all existing restrictions on homosexuals in the military but ends the practice of questioning recruits about their sexual orientation.", "April, Secretary Aspin asks the Rand Corporation a nonprofit research organization to provide `information and analysis that would be useful in helping formulate the required draft executive order'. Aspin also forms a fifty member Defense Department Military Working Group to study the issue. Three weeks after its first meeting, the group recommends continuing the ban, with the sole change of instructing commanders not to ask soldiers or recruits about their sexual orientation.", "March-July: The Senate Armed Forces Committee, headed by Senator Sam Num holds public hearings to consider the ban.", "May-July: The House Armed Services Committee also conducts hearing. At both House and Senate hearings, the overwhelming majority of those testifying are service members opposed to lifting the ban.", "July: Secretary Aspin signs a directive adopting the April recommendation of the Military Working Group. One week later, the Senate and House Committees issue their `findings'. Both recommend codifying Aspin's directive.", "August: The Rand Corporation releases its independent report, stating that `there is ample reason to believe that heterosexual and homosexual military personnel can work together effectively'. The government buries the study.", "September: The House and Senate both pass legislation discouraging homosexual enlistment in the military, the language of which is tougher than Clinton's `don't ask, don't tell'. The legislation would allow a future defense secretary to reinstate questioning of recruits about their sexual orientation. Within days, Clinton signs the measure with no fanfare and little public notice."

Military/Gay Timeline:1994, "March: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union bring a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of six lesbian and gay service members, the first direct constitutional challenge to the military's policy. The government immediately seeks discharge proceedings against some of the plaintiffs.", "April; Federal District Judge Eugene Nickerson grants the plaintiffs' preliminary injunction, preventing the military from initiating discharge proceedings while the case is active.", "June: U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly orders the Army to reinstate Colonel Margarethe Camemrmeyer to the National Guard. In his ruling, Zilly holds unconstitutional the old version of the military ban barring service by lesbians and gay men. Colonel Cammermeyer, a twenty seven year veteran of the Army and National Guard and chief nurse of the Washington State National Guard, was discharged from the military in June 1992 after she disclosed her sexual orientation during an interview for top security clearance."

Military/Gay Timeline:1995, "`Don't ask, Don't tell' is challenged in a number of appeals courts, with some victories and some losses for gays in the military.",



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