new report from the Center for American Progress.Analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board, CAP found that “the roughly 79,000 LGBT individuals currently serving in the armed forces — and an estimated 1 million LGBT veterans — face higher levels of economic insecurity, housing instability, and mental health concerns than their non-LGBT counterparts,” says the report, released Thursday.That is due in part to the legacy of discriminatory policies.
Under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which was in place from 1994 to 2011 and replaced an even harsher policy, an estimated 14,000 lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members received less-than-honorable discharges.
That can create barriers to finding employment and accessing benefits. Since DADT ended, those discharged under the policy have been allowed to apply for discharge upgrades, “but the immense difficulty in accessing the necessary records and the potential need for legal representation means that fewer than 500 veterans have made the request,” CAP notes.Many employers turn away vets who do not have an honorable discharge, plus there is the anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination that remains legal in many states.
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