Section 8 (military)
Section 8 is a category of discharge from the United States military, used for a service member judged mentally unfit for service. Section 8 was also often given to cross-dressers, homosexual, bisexual and transgender people.
The term Section 8 eventually came to mean any service member given such a discharge or behaving as if deserving such a discharge, as in the expression, "he's a Section 8". The term comes from Section VIII of the World War II-era United States Army Regulation 615-360, which provided for the discharge of those deemed unfit for military service.
Section 8 discharge was often given to homosexuals, bisexuals, cross-dressers and transgender people as they were deemed mentally unfit to serve in the military. A Section 8 discharge often made it difficult for people to find work in civilian life and did not allow veterans benefits.
Discharge under Section 8 is no longer practiced, as medical discharges for psychological/psychiatric reasons are now covered by a number of regulations. In the Army, such discharges are handled under the provisions of AR 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations. Chapter 5, paragraph 13 governs the separation of personnel medically diagnosed with a personality disorder.
Section 8 became a household phrase when used in the 1970s TV series M*A*S*H, in which the character Corporal Klinger was continually seeking one (until he eventually abandoned his efforts). His preferred method of doing so was cross-dressing. In the 2003 movie Basic, a DEA agent Tom Hardy (played by John Travolta) investigates a group of apparently insane mercenary Rangers turned drug dealers calling themselves Section 8. In Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket Pvt Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence is described as potentially being a Section 8 when it is noticed that he talks to his rifle.
- Blue discharge
- Section 8, a video game named after the military term due to its game mechanics of "dangerously insane" orbital flights.
- Don't ask, don't tell
- Michael Bronski; A Queer History of the United States
- "Office of Medical History - Neuropsychiatry in WWII, Chapter 16". United States Department of the Army. 1963. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- Michael Bronski; A Queer History of the United States;
- "Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations" (PDF). United States Department of the Army. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "M*A*S*H Episode Guide - Radar's Report". The editors of TV.com. 1973-09-02. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- Nicole Markotic; Disability in Film and Literature; 37
- Douglas L. Howard, David Bianculli; Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls; 238
- Kubrick, Stanley (Director) (1987). Full Metal Jacket (Motion picture). Warner Bros. Event occurs at 0:35:18.