WATCH: Gay Iraq War Veteran Reveals All In New Memoir

My name is Rob Smith. I write for Queerty because I’m into gay politics and pop culture. I am also a veteran of the Iraq war. A very, very gay veteran.

I once chained myself to the White House fence in protest of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” That’s how gay I am.

I wrote a book about my time in the U.S. Army from the ages of 17-22, including a little summer vacation to Iraq right after the 2003 invasion.

Here are five reasons you should read Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army:


  • It’s the first gay Iraq war memoir published post-DADT repeal and the first Iraq war memoir written by an African-American, period. Crazy, right?


  • U.S. Army Infantry basic training is the toughest of the tough, but I got through it and in the end outperformed most of my straight counterparts. Gay dudes can be just as hardcore as straight dudes. Who knew?


  • Even with DADT repeal, Transgender soldiers are still barred from serving openly and the U.S. Military still doesn’t have a nondiscrimination policy in regards to sexual orientation. Keeping the conversation going will change those two things.


  • If you get the book version and read it on the train, it could be a conversation starter with some hot guy. You could possibly marry him. Which means that not reading this book could be keeping you from meeting your future husband. Why would you want to hold yourself back like that?


  • It doesn’t shy away from the man sex. At all. I’ll leave it at that.

Closets, Combat and Coming Out is available now via Blue Beacon Books from,, and wherever LGBT books are sold. For more on Rob, visit and on twitter @robsmithonline.