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By Eleanorgreen29
On July 9, 2019

Lesson Plan: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Defense Secretary Aspin Testifies on Don't Ask Don't Tell

Secretary of Defense Les Aspin described the new "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The previous day, President Clinton announced the introduction of the new policy, which would allow LGBT service members to remain in the U.S. military if they keep their sexual orientation a secret.


Since the Revolutionary War, homosexual acts have been grounds for discharge from the American military. During World War II, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness and LGBT Americans were barred from service. President Bill Clinton announced the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in 1993, allowing gay, bisexual, and lesbian Americans to serve in the military if they remained "in the closet." This lesson plan explores that change to the law, as well as efforts to repeal DADT in 2010. An optional extension allows students to learn about the policy change in 2019, forbidding those who identify as transgender, or who have received medical treatment for gender dysphoria, from serving in the military.


Additional Resources


  • Amendment
  • Closeted
  • Cohesion
  • Conduct
  • Disciplinary Action
  • Discrimination
  • Filibuster
  • Lgbt
  • Military Discharge
  • Orientation
  • Repeal
  • Transgender
  • Veto-proof Majority


Civil Rights & Civil LibertiesExecutive BranchU.S. History


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