Don't Ask Don't Tell

Since the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy went into effect on February
28, 1994, the situation has not improved for gays in the military. By
some accounts, the rate of discharge of servicemembers based on
homosexuality has remained steady at about 0.04 percent of total
military personnel. Others argue that this figure has actually risen
overall since the implementation of the new policy. For example,
discharges from the Air Force for homosexuality increased in the
period of 1992 to 1994 from 111 to 180 dismissals.
According to President Clinton's July 19, 1993, announcement
of what he called the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy,
servicemembers were to now be judged based on their conduct, rather
than their sexual orientation. Questions about sexual orientation were
to be removed from written forms, such as those needed for enlistment
procedures. Servicemembers were even supposed to be allowed to say
that they were homosexual, if they could prove that they would not
engage in prohibited conduct. Under the Uniform Code of Military
Justice, prohibited conduct includes sodomy, which is defined as
"unnatural" sexual acts.
The policy, in and of itself, is problematic in that lesbian
and gay servicemembers are expected to either lie about their sexual
orientation or lie about their desire to actually sleep with someone
of the same sex. The policy can be can and has been interpreted differently by different people. Under the terms of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," lesbians and gays could theoretically join the military -- as long as they took a vow of celibacy. Given the notorious sexual habits of US military personnel, it is jarringly inconsistent that the military would be so prudish about the sex lives of certain soldiers.
However, this is not the way the policy has actually been
carried out under the auspices of the Department of Defense. Memos
drafted in June and November of 1994 by the Navy and the Air Force
indicate that the military...