Perceptions of family acceptance into the military community among U.S. LGBT service members: A mixed-methods study
Sullivan, K. S., Dodge, J., McNamara, K., Gribble, R., Keeling, M., Taylor-Beirne, S., Kale, C., Goldbach, J., Fear, N. T., Castro, C. A. (2021). Perceptions of family acceptance into the military community among U.S. LGBT service members: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, 7(s1), 90-101. https://doi.org/10.3138/jmvfh-2021-0019
Abstract Created by REACH:
This study explored lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Service members’ perceptions of partner acceptance (e.g., the military community’s approval of their partner, including military support programs) and its impact on well-being. 115 LGBT Service members completed an online questionnaire about partner acceptance (e.g., partner feels safe), mental health (e.g., depression), and physical health symptoms (e.g., chest pain). A subsample of 42 Service members completed semistructured interviews to further understand experiences of partner acceptance and well-being (e.g., health). Findings indicate that family acceptance may be a resource that mitigates LGBT Service members’ mental and physical health concerns; efforts to continue to bolster inclusiveness in the military community are warranted.
Branch of Service:
Active duty service member
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Sullivan, Kathrine S., Dodge, Jessica, McNamara, Kathleen, Gribble, Rachael, Keeling, Mary, Taylor-Beirne, Sean, Kale, Caroline, Goldbach, Jeremy, Fear, Nicola T., Castro, Carl A.
Lay Summary There are approximately 16,000 families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) service members in the U.S. military, but very little is known about how accepted they feel in the communities in which they live. This study begins to address this question by considering the perspectives of LGBT service members, which they shared both in response to an online survey and in interviews. Findings suggest that many service members believe their spouses and families are accepted by their chain of command. However, a smaller but important group continued to express concerns about their family being accepted in their military community. Many service members appear concerned that family services available to them through the military are not appropriate for LGBT families. Altogether, this article highlights the need for more research to understand the well-being and needs of this group.
Silver School of Social Work, New York University, KSS
Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, University of Southern California, JD
US Air Force, Nellis Air Force Base, KM
King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London, RG
Department of Social Sciences, University of the West England, MK
King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London, STB
Silver School of Social Work, New York University, CK
King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College London, NTF
Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, University of Southern California, CAC
acceptance, acceptation, bisexual, bisexuel, communauté militaire, diverse, diversité, familles de militaires, gay, health, lesbian, lesbienne, LGBT, militaires des États-Unis, military community, military families, minority stress theory, santé, théorie du stress des minorités, transgender, transgenre, U.S. military
REACH Publication Type: