Activist/author to visit UT Oct. 29 and discuss LGBTQ troops in U.S. military | UToledo News

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Activist/author to visit UT Oct. 29 and discuss LGBTQ troops in U.S. military

Dr. Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, which commissions and distributes research on gender, sexuality and the military, will speak Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 at The University of Toledo.

He will discuss why the U.S. military within the last decade has changed 200 years of its official policy to become more inclusive for the LGBTQ community. He also will address how this change in policy came about and what more can be done to ensure the rights of LGBTQ personnel in the U.S. military.

Belkin

Belkin

“We are honored to have Dr. Aaron Belkin, a foremost scholar and researcher of LGBTQ experiences in the military, giving our annual lecture,” said Dr. Renee Heberle, UT professor of political science and director for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. “His theoretical framework and critical thinking about masculinity and the implications of LGBTQ inclusion in the military will make his talk all the more challenging and interesting to our community.

“This event is a fitting conclusion to LBGTQ History month as that history is full of struggle and fascinating dilemmas regarding how to live in and change a heteronormative culture. LBGTQ inclusion in militarist projects is a site of intense debate among activists. Dr. Belkin will help the larger community of northwest Ohio understand some of those debates.

From the 2011 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s 2015 announcement of a working group to study how to end the transgender ban in the U.S. military, tremendous strides have been made in the last decade for members of the LGBTQ community wishing to serve in the U.S. military, Heberle said.

“Dr. Belkin will attempt to explain these changes in official policy, drawing on a range of cultural, political and organizational factors,” she said. “Dr. Belkin is especially interested in helping us understand the activist and organizational strategies that have resulted in these vast changes.”

A noted author, activist and scholar, Belkin’s most recent book is titled Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Façade of American Empire, 1898-2001.

Since 1999, he has served as founding director of the Palm Center, which The Advocate named as one of the most effective gay rights organizations in the nation. Belkin has appeared on CNN, PBS Newshour, ABC News and Fox News.

For more information on the free, public event, contact Heberle at renee.heberle@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4151.

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