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The subject of lesbians and gays in the military is a highly contentious one; many people have strong opinions, though a much smaller number fully understand the history of lesbian and gay service. The U.S. military has a long record of homosexual service members, but it has often overlooked (frequently intentionally) or disparaged their presence. Legal challenges to exclusion and separation of lesbian and gay personnel arose by the early 1980s, and in 1993, the military inaugurated the policy known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). After thousands of discharges under various policies and the repeal of DADT (which was equally contentious), the status of gays and lesbians in the military is still in limbo. The historical debate has been driven by stereotypes, misconceptions, and ...

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