40% of IDF’s gay soldiers suffer abuse

Israeli Gay Youth movement survey finds that LGBT soldiers are often victims of verbal and physical violence.

August 16, 2011 03:34
1 minute read.
IDF soldier

IDF soldier 521. (photo credit: IDF)


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Half of the homosexual soldiers who serve in the IDF claim that they suffer from violence and homophobia, according to a survey released on Monday by the Israeli Gay Youth movement.

The survey was conducted among soldiers who are known members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community as well as youth who are undergoing the induction process.

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The survey found that LGBT soldiers were often victims of verbal and physical violence and that the phenomenon was, for the most part, ignored by commanders.

The IDF does not question candidates for military service about their sexual orientation and soldiers who identify themselves as gay are drafted.

According to the survey, 40 percent of the soldiers were verbally abused due to their sexual orientation and 20% claimed to have been physically or sexually assaulted.

“The IDF is known as one of the more enlightened militaries in the world which allows male and female soldiers who are not heterosexual to serve in its ranks,” the Israeli Gay Youth movement said in a statement.

“At the same time, the military needs to review the claims by these soldiers in order to better understand the climate in which they serve and how it affects their service.”

The survey also found that 49% of soldiers who hear homophobic comments in military bases ignore them and do not respond. Another 37% participate and join in making fun of the homosexual soldier; 13% reprimand the soldiers who are making fun of the homosexual soldier.

The Israeli Gay Youth movement noted that this was an improvement since the last survey conducted in 2006, when 62% of the soldiers were found to participate in making fun of homosexual soldiers.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement: “The survey was not conducted by the military and therefore we cannot comment on the findings.

Every claim that has to do with abuse that will be received in the IDF will be dealt with accordingly. The IDF enlists into its ranks all candidates eligible for service without connection to their sexual orientation.”

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