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Center Examines LGBT Military Deaths
The total number of US troops who have died since the war began in 2003 has surpassed 4000. According to the Pentagon, 98 of these were women.
Because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, it is impossible to accurately determine the number of LGBT casualties.
"The sexual orientation of service members is a private matter. But the nation must recognize that gays and lesbians are among those giving their lives for their country, a fact that can be obscured by the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which bars service members from being truthful about who they are," the Williams Institute said in a statement.
Since the ban on gays serving openly was implemented a decade ago more than 11,000 men and women have been dismissed under "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" according to the Government Accountability Office.
The number of gays and lesbians who have attempted to enlist and rejected because they said they were gay is not known.
The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and allow gays to serve openly has been reintroduced in Congress and has bipartisan support.
The numbers of American war dead do not take into account what is believed to be hundreds of Iraqi gays and lesbians rounded up and executed by death squads imposing strict Islamic law.
Last year the leader of an exiled Iraqi LGBT rights group told a London conference on homophobia that that militias blamed for the murders of hundreds of gay men and women are sanctioned by the government and the US-led coalition is doing little to stop the killings.
Ali Hili said that the Badr and Sadr militias - the armed wings of the two main Shia parties that control the government of Iraq - are routinely rounding up men and women, primarily in Baghdad, suspected of being gay. The men and women are never heard from again.
Five members of Hili's own group were taken away in November of 2006. About a dozen members of Rainbow For Life, another Iraqi LGBT group also have been seized and are presumed dead.
In 2006 the Iraq government strongly criticized a U.N. report on human rights that put its civilian death toll in 2006 at 34,452, saying it is "superficial" because it included people such as homosexuals.
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