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Guest Blog: LGBT Literature a Cornerstone of Equality

As OutServe-SLDN begins a new chapter in the fight to secure equal opportunity, equal protection and equal benefits for LGBT service members and veterans, I want to recognize the role that authors, publishers and readers of LGBT literature have played – and will continue to play – in winning the freedom to serve.

Groundbreaking books like Allan Berube’s Coming Out Under Fire (1990) and Randy Shilt’s Conduct Unbecoming: Lesbians and Gays in the Military from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf Wars (1993) focused attention on the inequities in our military and helped set the stage for the fight against DADT. Heart-wrenching autobiographies like Joe Steffan’s Honor Bound (1992), Jose Zuniga’s Soldier of the Year (1995) and Grethe Cammermeyer’s Serving In Silence (2005) garnered public support by putting a human face on the issues. Dozens of other works helped advance the debate and galvanize support.

And this year’s The End of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: The Impact In Studies and Personal Essays By Service Members and Veterans (Huffman and Schultz, eds) published by the Marine Corps University Press shows just how important the victory over DADT was to our Armed Forces – and our nation. Like so many other fans of LGBT literature and of fairness and justice, I look forward to reading the next wave of books about the lives of our brave service members and the continuing fight for full military equality.

About the Author: Former SLDN Interim Executive Director Kathleen DeBold is the Administrator of the Lambda Literary Awards, a signature program of the Lambda Literary Foundation whose mission is to nurture, celebrate, and preserve LGBT literature. For more information: www.lambdaliterary.org.

By Kathleen DeBold, former SLDN Interim Executive Director |