Monday, April 20, 2015

Soldier fo Change by Stephen Snyder-Hill

Soldier of Change
From the closet to the forefront of the gay rights movement
by Stephen Snyder-Hill
2014
****
4 stars - 5 for content, 3 for writing style
ALR Green - Snyder-Hill loves his dogs


Captain Stephen Snyder-Hill. U.S. arm officer. Veteran of the war in Iraq. Homosexual.

Soldier of Change is Snyder-Hill's story, told in his own words, of growing up gay and serving as an army officer during "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). It's a complex and hopeful narrative. Prior to DADT, an individual discovered to be a homosexual would be immediately dismissed from service. After DADT, things became worse in many ways as fellow servicemen and women would use every trick in the book to "out" individuals. 

It's a story about the constant fear that plagues members of the LGBT community. Who can I come out to? Who will wish me harm if they know? And while we've made significant strides towards equality for all people in the United States, it still isn't free and clear. At one point, Snyder-Hill ponders how things would be somehow easier if there were just a "Homosexual" sign on his forehead. At least that way, the haters would hate on first meeting.

As a long time ally of the LGBT community, I found this book to be a good reminder of the responsibility I have to continue zero tolerance for remarks and actions that target this group. That means saying something when there are off-hand remarks made, no matter who makes them. I find this to be something I have to do more often than I'd like in the workplace. Despite all the tolerance training mandated by my company, there are still comments made that make my hair stand up and I don't let them pass. Nor should anybody. 

There's a lot of good information in this book and Snyder-Hill seems like a nice chap. I did, however, deduct a star for a somewhat clunky writing style. That's OK. Still worth reading. 

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