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Social Changes for Gay and Lesbian Armed Forces

             The next big social change for the United States is equal rights for the gay and lesbian active duty, guard, reserve and veteran population within the United States armed forces. Since the beginning of time armies have been comprised of homosexual members. In ancient Greece the Sacred Band of Thebes and the Spartans are two examples where in homosexual behavior was openly practiced and accepted rather than with a view of condemnation. The Theban military commander Pammenes is supposed to have advocated military organization based on pairs of lovers because this practice boosted morale.1 Historians widely agree on the concept of paired lovers in battle together fought stronger and harder for a couple of reasons. One reason was to show manliness to their partner, the other to protect.
             Times have changed-Achieving gay and lesbian equality in the armed forces is not just a matter of principle; it is also about acknowledging the fact that the military operates best when all service members are treated fairly and facing the reality that many different types of Americans serve in uniform and make sacrifices on our behalf, including those who are gay and lesbian. The discrimination within the United States military began as early as 1916 with the establishment of the "Blue Discharge". A blue discharge (also known as a "blue ticket") was a form of administrative military discharge formerly issued by the United States. It was neither honorable nor dishonorable. The blue ticket became the discharge of choice for commanders seeking to remove homosexual service members from the ranks. Service members holding a blue discharge were subjected to discrimination in civilian life. They were denied the benefits of the G.I. Bill by the Veterans Administration and had difficulty finding work because employers were aware of the negative connotations of a blue discharge. The blue discharge was discontinued in 1947, replaced by two new classifications of discharge: general and undesirable.

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