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LGBT in the Military: Policy Development in Sweden 1944–2014
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2523-2575
2016 (English)In: Sexuality Research & Social Policy, ISSN 1868-9884, E-ISSN 1553-6610, Vol. 13, no 2, 119-129 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article contributes to the growing field of research on military LGBT policy development by exploring the case of Sweden, a non-NATO-member nation regarded as one of the most progressive in terms of the inclusion of LGBT personnel. Drawing on extensive archival work, the article shows that the story of LGBT policy development in the Swedish Armed Forces from 1944 to 2014 is one of long periods of status quo and relative silence, interrupted by leaps of rapid change, occasionally followed by the re-appearance of discriminatory policy. The analysis brings out two periods of significant change, 1971–1979 and 2000–2009, here described as turns in LGBT policy. During the first turn, the military medical regulation protocol’s recommendation to exempt gay men from military service was the key issue. During these years, homosexuality was classified as mental illness, but in the military context it was largely framed in terms of security threats, both on a national level (due to the risk of blackmail) and for the individual homosexual (due to the homophobic military environment). In the second turn, the focus was increasingly shifted from the LGBT individual to the structures, targeting the military organization itself. Furthermore, the analysis shows that there was no ban against LGBT people serving in the Swedish Armed Forces, but that ways of understanding and regulating sexual orientation and gender identity have nonetheless shaped the military organization in fundamental ways, and continue to do so.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 13, no 2, 119-129 p.
Keyword [en]
LGBT, policy, Armed Forces, employment discrimination, working life, military service, Sweden
National Category
Work Sciences Gender Studies Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124967DOI: 10.1007/s13178-015-0217-6ISI: 000374575800003OAI: diva2:891370
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-0934The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Available from: 2016-01-06 Created: 2016-01-06 Last updated: 2016-06-07Bibliographically approved

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