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10 years since DADT, Lauren Hough says 'Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing'

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

Ten years after Don't Ask Don't Tell's repeal, we hear from writer Lauren Hough, who 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 Sept. 19, 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.

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

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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.