Sept. 20: Closets, Combat, and Coming Out
Rob Smith served for 5 years in the United States Army and deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, eventually earning the Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge. Upon choosing to discontinue his service due to the pressures of serving under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), he embarked on the journey to help end it.
His articles and opinion pieces about various political issues have appeared at The Huffington Post, USA Today, Metro Weekly, CNN.com, and Salon.com among others.
A noted lecturer, Rob continues to speak out about LGBT issues, coming out, and homophobia at various colleges and universities across the country. In 2010 he was named one of Campus Pride’s “Top 25 LGBT Speakers to Watch,” and was recently selected to speak at multiple regional conventions for the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA).
His visit to Whitman will mark the one year anniversary of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Though a significant achievement in the Gay Rights Movement, it is now overshadowed by the struggle for marriage equality. Smith’s insight as a gay soldier, person of color, and activist will enhance audience understanding of the delicate intersections of culture, sexuality, and politics in American society. His lecture will not only examine DADT from a historical perspective, but will also analyze the effects of its repeal within military and civilian life. Lastly, Smith will contextualize DADT in the Gay Rights Movement to explain where the movement stands and where it must progress.
Interim Director of the Intercultural Center