Honor Bound: A Gay American Fights for the Right to Serve His Country

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9780679416609: Honor Bound: A Gay American Fights for the Right to Serve His Country
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A high-ranking Annapolis cadet who was expelled from the Naval Academy for homosexuality recreates life inside the Academy, taking readers through all four years, and addresses the issue of straight and gay sex within the institution. 35,000 first printing. Tour.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A controversial subject--the Defense Department ban on homosexuals in the armed forces--viewed from a highly personal perspective by a young man forced to resign from the US Naval Academy when he revealed his sexual orientation. Steffan was raised in a small Wisconsin town, the child of an intensely conservative Roman Catholic family. Even granting a milieu in which Sunday sermons and G-rated movies were apparently the major source of information about the outside world, the author's sexual naivet‚ is a bit hard to credit. He seems to have avoided confronting his possible gayness until he was well into his 20s. Accepted into Annapolis upon graduation from high school, Steffan was, by his own account, an exemplary cadet, rising to the rank of battalion commander by his fourth year. It was then that rumors of his possible homosexuality began to circulate, though Steffan insists that he had never engaged in overt sexual practices. When queried by a board of review, he admitted his gayness and was given the option to resign--or be discharged from the Academy. He resigned. Steffan's overdetailing of his naval experiences is nearly as numbing as a military training film, but the narrative tension begins to build when he contacts the Lambda Defense Fund and launches a courtroom challenge of the antihomosexual policy. Much of his case rests on the findings of a Justice Department report stating that ``having a same-gender or an opposite-gender orientation is unrelated to job performance in the same way as being left- or right-handed.'' The case is still in litigation. An important, earnest work but flawed by stilted writing. Readers may prefer to wait for Randy Shilts's upcoming book on the same general subject. (Sixteen pages of b&w photos--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Discharged from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987 for being a homosexual, Steffan filed suit a year later challenging the regulations that ban gays and lesbians from the armed services. In this memoir he narrates his discovery and affirmation of his sexual identity, then criticizes Annapolis for intolerance and inflexibility. The midshipman turned law student challenges the validity of often-cited general objections to gays in the military, such as those that cast gays as possible security risks who might abuse command authority and threaten unit cohesion. Problems involving specific activities can be dealt with as they arise, he argues, within the guidelines of appropriately revised regulations. Although unlikely to change the minds of those who would uphold the ban, the book makes a strong defense of individual rights as opposed to the demands and restrictions of collective institutions. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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