In May, we wrote an op-ed at The Washington Blade about the Department of Defense's insistence upon surveying troops—and their families—attitudes on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and serving with openly gay and lesbians. On Wednesday, the Pentagon Working Group emailed 400,000 surveys to service members to gauge their cpomfort level on "shar[ing] quarters, bathrooms and showers" with gays.
The survey includes questions about the impact the repeal might have on morale and readiness, and a service member's willingness to share quarters, bathrooms, and shower facilities with gay or lesbian service members. The 200,000 active duty and 200,000 guard and reserve forces were chosen at random for the surveys, which were e-mailed and must be completed and returned by Aug. 15. A similar survey will be sent to the family members of service members around the first week in August. Although the identity of all those who respond will remain confidential, there is a separate link within the survey for those gay or lesbian service members, who wish to provide additional comment without fear of being singled out and separated from the service as required by the existing law.
Unfortunately, since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is being still enforced, the Pentagon cannot guarantee that results will not be used against gay or lesbian personnel. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has issued a warning to gay, lesbian and bisexual troops and says it "cannot recommend that lesbian, gay, or bisexual service members participate in any survey because there is no guarantee of privacy" or that service members will not be outed.
Was there a similar survey emailed to troops before we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan? And why does the world's mightiest military need to ask Mommy and Daddy how they feel about Junior serving with the gays?