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Rob Smith
Rob Smith is an Iraq war veteran, author, public speaker, LGBT activist, and loudmouth living in New York City. His memoir, Closets, Combat, and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army, will be released in January 2014. His website is He can be reached at

Entries by Rob Smith

Real Talk With Rob Smith: The Grindr Crime and the Futility of Online Hookup Apps (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 3:28 PM

A Canadian visitor to Philadelphia was raped and robbed by a man he'd been in contact with via Grindr, yet gays continue to be slavishly addicted to the hookup app. On this episode of Real Talk, I take on Grindr, crime, and the futility of online hookups.


Follow me on Twitter @robsmithonline, and on Facebook.

Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army is available now at and wherever LGBT books are...

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WATCH: Real Talk With Rob Smith - Derrick Gordon and Black Gay People in Pro Sports

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 12:36 PM

On this "Real Talk," I talk about Derrick Gordon coming out, black gays in professional sports, and why it just may be harder for white men to come out than black men...

Follow me on Twitter @robsmithonline, and on Facebook.

Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army is available now at and wherever LGBT books are...

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WATCH: Real Talk With Rob Smith -- The Snow Bunni Video and HIV/AIDS in the Gay Community

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 12:07 PM

On this Real Talk, I take on the Snow Bunni Video and the problem with HIV/AIDS conversations in the gay community.

Follow me on Twitter @robsmithonline, and on Facebook.

Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army is available now at and wherever LGBT books are...

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Real Talk With Rob Smith: Tired of 'Black vs. Gay' (VIDEO)

(3) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 8:55 PM

This is my response to the tired "black vs. gay" meme that's going on right now:

Follow me on Twitter @robsmithonline, and on Facebook.

My book Closets, Combat and Coming Out is available now at and wherever LGBT books are...

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Why I Wrote the First Post DADT Repeal Gay Iraq War Memoir

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 9:03 AM

On November 15th, 2010 I chained myself to the White House fence with 12 other LGBT veterans and civilian activists in protest of the U.S. Military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. I did it because I cared, because I thought that every soldier had the right to serve...

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Real Talk With Rob Smith: Hip-Hop Homophobia, Russia and Chelsea Manning (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 7:58 PM

This week's Real Talk With Rob Smith takes on homophobia in hip-hop, Russia, and Chelsea Manning.

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From a Young Black Man to Don Lemon: This Is Why Your Remarks Hurt

(147) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 3:41 PM

I am a young black man in America. I've inadvertently followed Don Lemon's "rules" to the letter, and until a few days ago I didn't even know I was doing so. By Mr. Lemon's logic, my life should be perfect. I've never sagged my pants in my life....

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Real Talk With Rob Smith Podcast Episode 2: B. Scott's BET Brouhaha, Gaga Rallies the Gays, and Week 1,938 of the George Zimmerman Trial

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 7:40 PM


Hosted by author, lecturer, veteran, writer, and LGBT activist Rob Smith, the weekly podcast...

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Real Talk With Rob Smith Podcast 1: Paula Deen, Outserve/SLDN and the Fall of DOMA and Prop 8

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 6:01 PM

On this week's podcast, I take on the Paula Deen race scandal, the Outserve/SLDN ouster of Allyson Robinson, and the historic victories with DOMA and Prop 8.


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Real Talk: Why We Shouldn't Have Asked Train and Carly Rae Jepsen to Pull Out of the BSA Jamboree

(10) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 9:41 AM

In what is being treated like the most important development in Gay Rights in the past quarter-century, it has been discovered recently that the Boy Scouts of America have a policy that bans openly gay scouts. There have been grown adult men dressed in Boy Scout uniforms soaking up attention...

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The Real Talk Weekly Roundup: Episode 1

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 3:37 PM

Presented by author, lecturer, journalist, and LGBT activist Rob Smith, the Real Talk Weekly Roundup is a weekly vlog series created to dissect and discuss politics and pop culture from a gay perspective...

First up... Azaelia Banks and the F-Word controversy, and the country's youngest married couple!

New episodes will...

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Is It Time to Stop Covering Gay Youth Suicides?

(11) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 4:05 PM

When I was an 18-year-old, closeted Private in the United States Army, after dealing with seemingly endless torment from superiors and coworkers that was both homophobic and racist, I waited until all my roommates weren't home, took a bottle of vodka and pills into the restroom and closed the door...

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Coming Out and Fighting for LGBT Rights as a Gay Iraq War Veteran (VIDEO)

(8) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 12:16 PM

I'm a decorated Iraq War veteran and LGBT activist, and this past Spirit Day I had the opportunity to speak about my experiences to college students attending a conference in upstate Pennsylvania.

I'm choosing to share this small portion of my talk in the days before Veterans Day because as we celebrate this national holiday, it's important that we don't forget the contributions of LGBT people who have served our country throughout history and have been invisible -- until now. With the historic repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) now firmly etched in the history books, we opened the door to a generation of service members who will no longer have to hide their sexual orientation.

However, they still face roadblocks to full equality both in the U.S. Armed Forces and elsewhere. Gay and lesbian soldiers are still fighting for equal partner benefits, the addition of sexual orientation to the military's nondiscrimination policy, and open service for their transgender brothers and sisters.

As we celebrate this Veterans Day and our historic wins for equality all around, it's important for us to use our voices and speak out in the name of full equality for the LGBT community.

The military builds leaders and commands respect, and it is my hope that the many military men and women who were involved in the hard-won fight to repeal DADT will use those skills to help the LGBT community in all future fights for our civil rights.

We will never be silenced again, we will never be invisible again, and my voice is just one of many that will bring full LGBT equality to this great nation I once wore a uniform to protect.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-866-488-7386 for the Trevor Lifeline, or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Rob Smith is a U.S. Army veteran, LGBT activist and author of the forthcoming memoir Closets, Combat and Coming Out. He can be reached online at

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Why President Obama is the Only Choice for Black Actress and Small Business Owner Brenda Braxton

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 4:48 PM

Multi-hyphenate actress/dancer/small business owner Brenda Braxton has many talents from hoofing it on Broadway boards to styling Harlem's hottest residents at her upscale barber shop Bbraxton, but there is only one choice in her mind for the 2012 Presidential election. She sees President Barack Obama as the "right person for...

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Real Talk: Why Are We So Afraid of Gay Republicans?

(205) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 6:32 PM

The average gay Republican is a self-hating, traitorous troll with acceptance issues who would sell out his or her own people to curry favor with a party that is actively working to deny them equal rights. Well, at least that's the picture that is painted of them by most of...

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Bricks: A Docuseries Slice of Black Gay Life in NYC

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 6:16 PM

With the struggles that black gay people have in terms of seeing themselves depicted in the media, I was intrigued when I was approached with the opportunity to be involved with a project that was solely focused on showcasing us.

For one intense and drama-filled month back in April,...

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Real Talk: When Did We Stop Talking About HIV?

(3) Comments | Posted July 31, 2012 | 6:19 PM

There is a special scene at the very end of the movie Longtime Companion, a character study about the effects of the early AIDS crisis on a group of gay men in New York City. In the scene, dozens upon dozens of happy, healthy gay men run from...

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Real Talk: Did Brandon White's Attackers Really Deserve Five Years in Prison?

(132) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 1:18 PM

Earlier this year, the Internet was set ablaze by grainy surveillance video of a young black man in Atlanta getting brutally beaten by a group of black men outside a local convenience store, some of whom could be heard calling him anti-gay epithets. The video swiftly went viral,...

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NOM Didn't Need to Drive a Wedge Between Blacks and Gays... It Was Already There

(105) Comments | Posted March 29, 2012 | 12:34 PM

You'll have to forgive me for not being completely and utterly shocked at Tuesday's news that NOM actually went so far as to explicitly make plans to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and the black community. I wasn't shocked because, as a black gay man, this is a...

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The I Am Trayvon Martin Project

(52) Comments | Posted March 28, 2012 | 5:42 PM

A month ago, a black teenager named Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Florida while walking back from running an errand for his brother. His killer was not tested for drug or alcohol. Trayvon was. His killer has not been arrested. In the past 30 days the case has received...

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