Expert: Transgender History is Important for Political Conversations

Article ID: 686672

Released: 12-Dec-2017 11:05 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Texas Tech University

Expert Pitch
  • Emily Skidmore

Newswise — Transgender people hoping to enlist in the U.S. military may have more hope soon.

The Pentagon announced Monday (Dec. 11) that transgender people will be allowed to enlist beginning Jan. 1, despite opposition from President Donald Trump, who in July announced on Twitter his intent to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Two U.S. district court judges have since ruled against the ban, and part of one ruling required the government to allow transgender individuals to enlist beginning Jan. 1. The government requested that deadline be postponed during the appeals process, but on Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court in Washington refused the request, saying the ban likely violates constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.

Emily Skidmore, an assistant professor in the Texas Tech University Department of History, specializes in gender and cultural history. She recently released her new book, “True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” which shows the long history of transgender individuals in the United States and the positive impacts they have had on their communities.


Emily Skidmore, assistant professor of history, (806) 742-3744 or

Talking points

  • The United States has a long and deep history of gender transgression; transgender issues are by no means new.
  • Understanding the history of gender transgression can and should inform the way we frame our present political conversations about transgender issues, from “bathroom bills” to bans against trans people serving in the military.
  • Trans men have long been part of the fabric of communities large and small throughout the nation, working as farmers, acting as husbands and otherwise contributing positively to their communities.
  • Trans people have a long history of military service, dating at least from the Civil War. 

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