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VIDEO: Over 11,000 gays discharged from military in 10 years

David Edwards
Published: Wednesday August 16, 2006

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In Iraq, soldiers with Arabic translation skills are in great demand. There are less than 2,000 translators to serve an American force of over 130,000 troops.

Ian Finkenbinder is an Army soldier with the uncommon ability to translate Arabic. Because of his top secret status, Finkenbinder could translate high security information such as weapons cache locations, insurgent headquarters, and other sensitive intelligence. Yet he was discharged from the Army when his commander learned that he was gay.

CNN reports that during the last 10 years, over 11,000 outed gays have been discharged from the military. Nathaniel Frank of U.C. Santa Barbara conducted a study of gays removed from the military. Frank discovered that over 800 of the discharged gays were "mission critical specialists" and about 300 were linguists, of which 55 were rare Arabic linguists. Frank concludes that the policy towards gays is causing a "brain drain" in the military.