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Out in the Bay

Lauren Hough: 'Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing'

Essayist Lauren Hough in 2018.
Karl Poss IV
Vintage Books
Essayist Lauren Hough in 2018.

Essayist Lauren Hough grew up in the infamous Christian free-love and -sex cult The Family, formerly The Children of God. At 18, she joined the US Air Force, where she got death threats and her car was set ablaze because she’s lesbian.

The Air Force court-martialed Hough, accusing her of setting her own car on fire. The military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, in place from 1994 to 2011, kept her from citing the homophobic death threats in her defense. Her book of essays, “Leaving Isn’t The Hardest Thing,” details this and other horrors, with scathing critiques on U.S. society tempered somewhat with sardonic humor.

On this edition of Out in the Bay, Hough reads from her essays and talks about "life in the margins," where too many people in the US dwell. After her military service, Hough was homeless for a while; was incarcerated briefly; and worked as a bouncer, a barista, a bartender and a “cable guy" before becoming a professional writer.

A special Pride Month request: We're participating in Give OUT Day, a national fundraiser for LGBTQ non-profits that runs all June! Please help us bring queer content to our region, our state, the USA and beyond. When you give any amount to Out in the Bay via Give OUT Day, you’ll help us qualify for bonuses on top of your $$s. Bonuses are based on the number of donors, not the dollar amount. So even $10 can make a big impact. Please donate todayand spread the word to help us keep sharing LGBTQ voices with the world. THANK YOU!!

Learn more about Lauren Hough and her work on her website, https://laurenhoughauthor.com/.

This episode of Out in the Bay was produced by Kendra Klang and edited by Lusen Mendel.

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Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.