The findings on gays in the military showed a striking difference by rank. Commissioned officers and their families opposed their inclusion by 53 to 39 percent. Non-commissioned officers and their families were also clearly opposed, by a 57 to 35 percent margin. But 50 percent of junior enlisted personnel . . . said gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly, while 43 percent said they should not. Respondents were asked their reason for support or opposition.Junior enlisted personnel are more working-class, so the striking difference by rank in attitudes toward gay men and lesbians in the military proves that the stereotype that the working class are more homophobic than the rich does not hold.
Among those who opposed inclusion of gays and lesbians, 20 percent said inclusion would be a distraction and cause problems, 13 percent said it would be bad for morale, and 12 percent said it would disrupt teamwork. Another 15 percent said that homosexuality was wrong, and 8 percent said they felt uncomfortable with homosexuals. Six percent said homosexuality was incompatible with military service and 5 percent cited close quarters as the reason for opposition.
Among supporters, 41 percent said homosexuals should have equal rights, 27 percent said sexual orientation had nothing to do with job performance, 10 percent said it did not bother them, and six percents said it was a free country. (emphasis added, Adam Clymer/Annenberg Public Policy Center, "Service Members, Families Say Pentagon Sent Too Few Troops to Iraq, Stressed National Guard and Reserves, Should Allow Photos of Coffins at Dover, Annenberg Data Show," October 16, 2004, p. 4)
Friday, December 10, 2004
A Striking Difference by Rank: Attitudes toward Gays in the Military
Junior enlisted personnel (ranks E-4 and below) are far more pro-queer than commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the United States military: