Homosexuality in European Military Forces

Posted: October 16, 2008 in British Forces, Homosexuality, Military, Research

Looking for information on how homosexuality is handled in the French Military Forces, I came across an excellent article by glbtq, Inc. The article is from 2004 and states that:

Attitudes and policies toward homosexuality and gay and lesbian personnel in European militaries vary widely. Several countries allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly and have granted them the same rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts. Other countries neither ban nor support gay and lesbian service members, and a small group continue to ban homosexual personnel outright.

The countries that have become most tolerant of homosexuality include the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway. The most restrictive include Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Countries such as Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Germany lie somewhere in between on the spectrum of acceptance of homosexuality in their respective military cultures.

Great Britain is a unique case. In 2000, it lifted its long-standing ban on gay and lesbian service members, falling into line with the other Northern European countries. Yet many scholars and military officials have long characterized the British military as inhospitable to sexual minorities.

Now, while I would like to see the sources for the “many scholars and military officials” (sorry, academic here, don’t tell me a sweeping “many”, give me proof) glbtq then goes on to suggest that there seems to be “a trend toward ever greater integration of homosexuals in the military”. Something I certainly agree with. I so also agree with the general notion of the British Forces not necessarily being an inclusive place regarding the attitude of personnel, but I shall explore this in another post about a “kind of insider view”. Stay tuned.

I am a bit surprised regarding Germany (remember, though, the article is from 2004 and things might have changed since) and I promise to look into this. After all, I do speak that language fluently. 😉 There shall be a later post that looks more closely at countries’ militaries and their legal stance on homosexuality.

Photo © copyright its owner, without permission.

  1. mllesatine says:

    It’s official, I’m stalking your blog. I was wondering why you were so surprised about Germany’s stance on the issue. What did you expect it to be?

  2. Marquesate says:

    Because I am German and very proud of my native country (even though I’m an expat) I would have thought they were more like Britain: complete equality for all.

    Then again I didn’t have to do National Service and that was actually unfair, even though I was glad.

  3. mllesatine says:

    Tut mir leid, dass die Antwort so lange gedauert hat. Leider wird in dem Artikel auch nicht gesagt nach welchen Kriterien man die einzelnen Länder verglichen hat. Soweit ich weiß gibt es in der Bundeswehr eine Direktive, die besagt, dass man die Sexualität eines Menschen respektieren sollte und Diskriminierung verboten wird.

    Allerdings hat man diese Direktive nicht an die große Glocke gehängt. Die Bundeswehr ist keinesfalls bekannt, Homosexuellen gegenüber offen zu sein.
    Es gab allerdings diesen Fall dieses Ausbilders, der geklagt hat, weil man ihm ungehend von seinem Posten entfernt hat, als die Vorgesetzten herausgefunden haben, dass er schwul ist.

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