Ban on Transgender People in the Military Mirrors Historical Discriminatory Limits, Expert Says

Article ID: 678531

Released: 26-Jul-2017 4:05 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Northwestern University

Expert Pitch
  • Michael Allen

  • Michael Sherry

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University professors Michael Allen and Michael Sherry are available to comment on President Trump’s announcement Wednesday that he intends to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Michael Allen is an associate professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. He is a historian of the United States in the 20th century who researches the politics of U.S. foreign policy. His first book “Until The Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War” (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) examined the politics of loss that emerged from American defeat in the Vietnam Wars through a history of the POW/MIA movement.

Contact: m-allen1@northwestern.edu or 847.467.3979 (office); 847.999.8571 (cell)

Quote from Professor Allen

“Trump cites the standard arguments that have always been made against inclusion in the armed forces. I find such arguments no more applicable or persuasive in this instance than when they were put forth as grounds for the segregation of the armed forces and the restriction of most African-American troops to non-combat and non-officer roles prior to 1948, when they were used to prevent gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military prior to 2010, or when they were used to restrict women to non-combat roles until recently.

“In each case, discriminatory limits on who could serve their country and how they could serve reduced the nation’s military capacity, divided the American people and diminished their support for the nation’s military endeavors, and tarnished the nation’s moral authority in the world. Today’s announcement is no different, and the reasons for it are no more legitimate.”

Michael Sherry is the Richard W. Leopold Professor of History in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. He has taught and written widely about modern U.S. history, including science and war, gay/lesbian history, cultural history, the ’60s, and crime and punishment. War, politics and culture thread through all his work, including his current book project, “Go Directly to Jail: The Punitive Turn in American Life.”

Contact: m-sherry@northwestern.edu or 847.644.0171 (cell)

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