A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The concept of "lesbian" to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation evolved in the 20th century. Throughout history, women have not had the same freedom or independence as men to pursue homosexual relationships, but neither have they met the same harsh punishment as homosexual men in some societies. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless and incomparable to heterosexual ones, unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men. As a result, little in history was documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality was expressed.
Once Banned, Then Silenced: How Clinton's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy Affected LGBT Military
How 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Became an Imperfect Step Forward for LGBT Military - HISTORY
Under the new policy, gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans could serve their country, as long as they kept their sexual identity under wraps. Meanwhile, the military continued to discharge thousands of gays and lesbians from service. Though the U. In the aftermath of World War I , the military made the act of sodomy a crime subject to punishment by a court-martial. As the nation prepared for World War II , and many psychiatrists classified homosexuality as a mental or behavioral disorder, potential servicemen began undergoing psychiatric screening as a part of the induction process. In , military regulations began listing homosexuality as an excludable characteristic for the first time. Even after significant legal battles, Sgt.
Armed forces ‘spied on suspected lesbians in WRAF’
In the week that the armed forces' LGBT conference takes place in London, Chris Root, a former soldier, still has painful memories of being thrown out of the army for being a lesbian. When Root joined up in , aged 17, she could not have imagined that she would be discharged just before she completed her four years in the Royal Army Armoured Corps with "services no longer required" stamped on her papers. I soon experienced a different world," said Root. The armed forces have held lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender conferences since , when the restrictions on gay men and women serving were lifted.
By country. LGB service by country. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender LGBT personnel are able to serve in the armed forces of some countries around the world: the vast majority of industrialized, Western countries, in addition to Brazil , Chile ,   South Africa , Israel , and South Korea. This keeps pace with the latest global figures on acceptance of homosexuality, which suggest that acceptance of LGBT communities is becoming more widespread only in secular, affluent countries.