26 September 2014

Deaf Students Rally for Opportunity to Serve in Military

Students at the North Carolina School for the Deaf traveled to Washington DC earlier this month in an attempt to draw attention to the fact that the deaf and hard-of-hearing are not allowed to serve in the military. While safety concerns are often noted as the reason behind the rule, students were confident they'd be a good fit for several kinds of non-combat roles. You can see more images from their trip here.
While it makes sense that being deaf or hard-of-hearing could be potentially hazardous in a combat situation, the military employs many people with other kinds of disabilities in noncombatant roles. The ongoing refusal to allow D/deaf people to serve seems to highlight a special kind of ableism that has little to do with the reality of a person's ability to do the work, and more to do with an established set of stereotypes or prejudices (reminiscent of the recently repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell" mandate).


  1. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Kevin Nolan but he's been a part of a rally to include the deaf in the military. He did a TED talk a few years ago that I thought was great.


    There's another deaf person who went to The Citadel in South Carolina but couldn't land a military position after graduating. His name is Ethan Lusted and is a part of the rally as well. Thanks for discussing this topic! It's been something I've followed for awhile.