Policy and Paradox: Grounded Theory at the Moment of DADT Repeal
James E. Parco
David A. Levy
U.S. Air Force Academy - Department of Management
February 1, 2013
Journal of Homosexuality, 60(2), 356-380.
Through a mixed-methods approach of oral history and grounded theory, we report on a study investigating the effects of the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on active-duty service members at the moment of transition to open service. A stratified, snowball sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) service members (n=17) from across all branches of the armed services were interviewed within two weeks of repeal (September 20, 2011). We find evidence that DADT was implicated in the structuring of military culture in terms of five irreconcilable contradictions: Values, Heroism, Wartime, Control, and Silence. Military culture had moved in the direction of acceptance of LGBQ service members long before repeal, without the recognition of many leaders who had entered military service decades earlier.
Keywords: don’t ask, don’t tell, DADT, oral history, interviews, military culture, LBGT, service members, contradiction, gay policy, grounded theory
JEL Classification: A13, Z10
Date posted: November 1, 2012 ; Last revised: July 30, 2013