SOUTH KOREA: Recent social, cultural and environmental changes in regards to homosexuality prompted South Korea to add a new guideline

April 1, 2006, for servicemembers in the conscripted military, according to a statement from South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.

The policy says that homosexuals will receive equal treatment and prevents targeted discriminatory practices like forced blood drawing and HIV testing.

An education component focuses on human rights protection for the sexual minority and increased support is given for counseling (after an “outing,” complaints and transfers to another unit).

The policy also guarantees that sexual orientation will be kept confidential. However, homosexuals still may be discharged if they cannot “adapt.”

They also report verbal violence and bullying, the statement said. In the last three years, there have been two cases of suicides and 25 men proved “inadequate” for active service due to homosexuality issues, according to the defense ministry.

JAPAN: People who join the Japanese Self-Defense Forces will not be asked their sexual orientation, according to a defense ministry spokesman.

There are 24 countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military: AustraliaAustriaBelgiumCanadaCzech RepublicDenmarkEstoniaFinlandFranceGermanyIrelandIsraelItalyLithuaniaLuxembourgNetherlandsNew ZealandNorwaySloveniaSouth AfricaSpainSwedenSwitzerlandUnited Kingdom

Countries that ban homosexuals from the military: ArgentinaBelarusBrazilCroatiaGreecePolandPeruPortugalRussiaTurkeyVenezuelaIranSaudi ArabiaSeveral other nations in the Middle East

Sources: Aaron Belkin, director of the Michael D. Palm Centerat the University of California; The Center for the Study of SexualMinorities in the Military at the University of California, now, alsothe Michael Palm Center

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