Date of Completion


Embargo Period



LGBTQ, military studies, queer, transgender, security studies

Major Advisor

Dr. Christine Sylvester

Associate Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Gill

Associate Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Pressman

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation examines three major research questions: 1) what has the history of discrimination against gay and lesbian persons in the military and intelligence communities looked like over time, 2) what have the major shifts in these policies and the rationale for them been throughout American history, and 3) what human experiences have resulted from this discriminatory history of gay and lesbian exclusion? While this project specifically focuses upon the experiences of gay and lesbian persons, it does also encompass other identities within the broader LGBTQ community—specifically bisexual and transgender persons. This study argues that there are five distinct periods of queer exclusion from the Armed Forces and intelligence communities—World War I, World War II, the early Cold War, the late Cold War, and the contemporary period (i.e. the early 1990s to present). Throughout these five periods, distinct shifts in rationale and policies have taken place, which have resulted in queer and transgender persons being excluded from the military and intelligence communities. While this project is largely historical, it situates itself at the intersections of feminist studies, security studies, and LGBTQ studies simultaneously. Furthermore, this project also concludes with a discussion of the proposed transgender ban in the Armed Forces, which is currently still being debated at the time of this writing.

Available for download on Monday, April 17, 2028