Jump to content
The Talon House

British Air Force's Lesbian 'Seek & Destroy' Squad


Recommended Posts

British Air Force's Lesbian 'Seek & Destroy' Squad

by Peter Moore 365Gay.com, London Bureau

Posted: August 24, 2005 1:00 pm ET

(London) While gays and lesbians have been able to serve openly in the British military for the past five years, newly declassified documents show that for 40 years - until the ban was removed, the Royal Air Force maintained a secret squad to root out and fire lesbians.

During the period, from the 1950s to the late 90s, the RAF maintained a secret "observation list" of what it called women engaged in "suspected unnatural female friendships".

The newly declassified documents were obtained by the newspaper The Guardian.

The paper reports that the documents show the list was devised in the 1950s and contained the names of hundreds of women which the RAF suspected of being lesbians but did not have sufficient proof to prosecute.

Women on the list were spied on and subjected to a quarterly secret "check-up" by the women's air force police.

The Guardian reports that the documents show that officers from the special investigations unit would be flown to British military bases around the world where they would clandestinely search the women's lockers and personal belongings looking for any indication of same-sex relationships.

Women whose names were on the list were denied promotions and subjected to a special screening process, known as the "lesbians index".

In the United States, out gays are not permitted in the military. A decade ago President Bill Clinton signed 'don't ask, don't tell' a law which while maintaining the gay ban forbade the military from probing into the private lives of soldiers suspected of being gay. But, if a servicemember's sexuality became known in other ways - including that person outing themself - he or she could be drummed out of the service.

Under 'don't ask, don't tell' more than 10,000 service members have been discharged over the last 10 years under the policy according to statistics from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

A February report by the Government Accounting Office shows that don’t ask, don’t tell' has cost taxpayers more than $200 million.

Legislation to repeal 'don’t ask, don’t tell' was introduced in Congress in March. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...