Image Department of Defense to study LGBT issues through anonymous survey (Lima Charlie News)
Department of Defense to study LGBT issues through anonymous survey (Lima Charlie News)

Department of Defense to study LGBT issues through anonymous survey

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking for active duty service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to take part in an anonymous survey about LGBT issues.

The University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are conducting a comprehensive U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) funded research project aimed at improving “the health, acceptance, and integration of service members across the U.S. military.” The program’s mission, to “promote acceptance through enlightenment, empowerment and service,” seeks to collect data about active duty lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender service members from each of the four military branches, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Part of the Military Acceptance Project, research is being conducted by both the LGBT Health Equity Initiative at the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families at USC’s School of Social Work (USC), and by the Luskin School of Public Affairs’ Department of Social Welfare at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

With the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) in 2011, the ban on LGB individuals serving openly in the military was officially lifted. Since then, the ability to collect substantive information about LGB service members prompted further study. Due to the current DoD review of its policy regarding transgender service members, the study also aims to understand the issues faced by LGBT service members in the military and to develop programs that address the health needs among individuals in that community.

According to the Military Acceptance Project, “understanding the needs of LGBT service members may enhance the performance of the military overall through improved unit cohesion.” In addition, the project “will help to identify social networks that are supportive of LGBT service members,” and “may help programs and policies that work to increase peer support within LGBT service members’ social and professional networks.”

The Military Acceptance Project is a non-profit that was founded in January 2011, at the University of Southern California, by graduate students who were active-duty service members, veterans, military family members, and civilians. 

Anonymous Survey

The Military Acceptance Project first conducted qualitative interviews with active-duty LGBT service members from each of the four military branches. Following the interviews, an anonymous quantitative survey is now being conducted online with both active-duty LGBT service members and heterosexual and cisgender service members.

The anonymous survey is meant for all active duty military personnel serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. It is estimated to take 30-45 minutes, and offers up to $55 in compensation.

You can find the survey here ( Enter the code word: LIMACHARLIE

Lima Charlie News is working with the DoD/Military Acceptance Project project to assist in raising awareness of the survey.

The Co-Principal Investigators on the DoD/Military Acceptance Project project are Col. Carl Castro, PhD (USC), Jeremy Goldbach, PhD, LMSW (USC) and Ian Holloway, PhD, MSW, MPH (UCLA). The Project Coordinator is Elizabeth Wu (UCLA).

Tweets, a Presidential Memorandum and Interim Guidance

We want to make our conditions and experience of service as attractive as possible to our best people in our country. And I’m very open-minded about [it] — otherwise about what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us.
– Dr. Ashton Carter, 25th Secretary of Defense, 22 February 2015

The issue of transgender service members in the military came to a head this summer when, on July 26, President Trump issued a series of tweets that appeared to reverse President Obama’s policy.

Image Trump transgender tweets July 2017

By August 25, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum identifying guidelines for renewing the ban on transgender personnel, to be remain effective until “the Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, provides a recommendation to the contrary that I find convincing”, and requiring the submission of an implementation plan by February 21, 2018.

On August 29, 2017, Secretary James Mattis announced that currently serving transgender troops would be allowed to remain in the armed services, pending further study, and that a panel of experts from DoD and DHS would provide recommendations on implementing the President’s policy direction. An Interim Guidance was set up, which expires no later than February 21, 2018. By reason of a series of lawsuits challenging the presidential memorandum, currently, the Pentagon’s six-month delay on accession of transgender individuals into military service (entrance to military service, through enlistment, Service Academies, ROTC, or any similar program) expires January 1, 2018.


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