Iraq war veteran and LGBT advocate
Author - "Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age as a Gay Man in the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Army"
Multimedia Journalist with work featured on CNN, USA Today, MSN, AOL, The Advocate, Salon, The New York Post, NBC News and more.
“Rob’s speech was a firm reminder of why we do what we do. He is one of the most powerful speakers I have ever heard.” – Natalie Unger, President of Rainbow Alliance, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh
Rob Smith is an Iraq war veteran, journalist, and author of the #1 bestseller “Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army,” which is the recipient of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award for LGBT Nonfiction and a nominee for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Memoir.
He served for 5 years in the United States Army as an Infantryman and deployed to both Kuwait and Iraq, earning the Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge in the process. In 2010 he was arrested at the White House with 12 other LGBT activists in protest of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law which barred lesbian, gay, and bisexual soldiers from serving openly, and he was later a guest of President Barack Obama at the ceremony that repealed the law.
He has spoken about veterans’ issues and LGBT rights and empowerment at dozens of college campuses, pride events, and corporate functions across the United States, including Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech, the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Conference, and the 2014 Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender and Allies College Conference among many more.
In 2014, he served as the Grand Marshal of the Key West Pride Parade, and was a featured speaker at the NYC Pride Rally. He’s been featured on HLN’s The Daily Share, Huffpost Live, Dr. Drew On Call, and Arise Television. As a writer his work has been published at CNN.com, The Advocate, Salon.com, The New York Post, NBC News and Metro Weekly among many others.
In 2015 he received the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) award for Excellence In Blogging. He recently received the 2016 Gay City News LGBT Impact Award for multimedia coverage of issues impacting the LGBT community, and his video journalism work has been seen on AOL, USA Today, and MSN among many other outlets.
He recently pioneered video coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions for NBC Out, the first LGBT-focused vertical from a mainstream news organization. He holds an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University.
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