Introduction

The APA Board of Directors established the Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service in October 2003. During its inaugural meeting in January 2004, the Task Force reviewed APA’s current policy on sexual orientation and military service and considered issues of common concern about the negative effects of the current U.S. statute, popularly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The issues of common concern that were identified by the Task Force included:

  • Confidentiality for military service members within mental health services;

  • The training of service members;

  • The training of military psychologists;

  • Consultation with military mental health providers;

  • The Department of Defense implementation of the Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The Task Force also consulted with the APA Ethics Office regarding the ethical issues that might arise for military psychologists, and discussed the possibility of collaboration among the Ethics Committee, Divisions 19 and 44 and APAGS in the development of educational resources to help address these issues.

Recommendations

The Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service developed several recommendations for APA action, including:

  • The adoption of a new APA policy resolution to reaffirm existing APA policy resolutions on lesbian, gay, and bisexual concerns and to update, elaborate and strengthen the APA policy on sexual orientation and military service;

  • The assessment of opportunities for advocacy to eliminate discrimination in the military based on sexual orientation;

  • The facilitation of the collection of data from military psychologists who are mental health providers about the implementation of the U.S. law on homosexuality in the armed services and the impact of the law on mental health services provision;and

  • The development of educational materials with the goal of improving the capability of military psychologists to provide effective services and to help consumers of these services understand the limits of confidentiality.

Task Force members

Members
Barry S. Anton, PhD, Chair
Robert S. Nichols, PhD
Henry L. Taylor, PhD
Robin A. Buhrke, PhD
Douglas Haldeman
Gregory M. Herek, PhD
Jessica F. Percodani

APA Public Interest Directorate Staff
Clinton W. Anderson

APA Public Policy Office Staff
Heather O’Beirne Kelly