April 10th, 2012

Until recently, the CIA and other American intelligence agencies, as with the FBI (especially under J. Edgar Hoover) and the military, had excluded gay men and lesbians over concerns that had no basis in fact (the secret 1957 Crittendon report found the biases unfounded), some of which were that gay men and women were subject to blackmail, were violators of laws, had a mental disorder, or had a medical condition. The bigots associated these problems/concerns with being gay. However, the problems were always due to social mores and constraints and bigotry, not to the sexual orientation itself.

But, the world is changing for the better. Finally, following integration of the military, the CIA and the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI) recently hosted the first Intelligence Community (IC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Summit.

Participants included members of LGBT employee groups from 9 IC agencies, plus CIA and ODNI leaders.

The Summit was designed to ensure the IC maintains a high performing, engaged, and diverse workforce because a fully inclusive IC directly and positively affects the workforce’s contribution to mission.

Officers considered policy implementation, lessons learned, and ways to increase the understanding and visibility of sexual orientation and transgender issues. Participants also shared ideas about leveraging LGBT supporters and assessing the mission impact of LGBT officers.