The Hague Center for Strategic Studies, an independent research group of the Dutch Ministry of Defense, has released a ranking of countries based on their level of inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) service members in their armed forces. The global ranking is the first of its kind.
Countries were judged based on their level of inclusion, admission and tolerance of LGBT service members, and were penalized based on their level of exclusion or persecution of them.
The top ranked countries on the list are New Zealand, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The United States is 40 out of 103 countries, behind Chile, Georgia and Cuba.
Syria, Iran and Nigeria ranked the lowest.
While the U.S. has repealed its controversial "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, it is the lesser known ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces that has dragged the country down to the lower ranking.
In a document obtained by The Guardian, the Department of Defense (DOD) says that applicants can be rejected if there is a "current or history of psychosexual conditions, transsexualism, exhibitionism, trasvestism, voyeurism and other paraphilias."