Fighting to Serve

Fighting to Serve
Fighting to Serve

Fighting to Serve

Behind the Scenes in the War to Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
By Alexander Nicholson


288 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Cloth, $26.95 (CA $29.95) (US $26.95)

ISBN 9781613743720

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2012)


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An exposé of the fight to end a controversial policy

Revealing the backstage strategies and negotiations that led to the 2010 repeal of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, this history offers a detailed, no-holds-barred account of the controversial policy from an insider’s perspective. In early 2006, the founder of the largest organization for gay and lesbian servicemembers—Servicemembers United—along with fellow former military members who had also been discharged under the DADT policy, toured the United States, speaking about the repeal campaign at American Legion posts, on radio talk shows, and at press conferences across the South and both coasts. Surprised at the mostly positive reception and momentum for the repeal that the tour received, Servicemembers United was suddenly propelled to the forefront of DADT’s repeal fight. From the unique perspective of the only person with a central role on every front in the war against DADT, this examination exposes how various Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) organizations, Congress, and the White House often worked at cross purposes, telling the public they were doing one thing while advocating other strategies behind closed doors.


"[Nicholson] stood on the frontline of this battle and his dedicated and unflinching service to our nation was the very sort that our military needs most. He is living proof that a soldier needs no rank or uniform to fully serve his country with utmost integrity. In war, any leader needs an accurate depiction of the ground level situation. [Nicholson] reports a valuable perspective in the battle against Don't Ask Don't Tell, translating the details into priceless lessons for our civil rights movement. He was trained to translate, and this book is an example of the very best translation a leader could want."  —Lt. Dan Choi

"[Nicholson] provides a rarely seen look at how activist organizations tirelessly work to build delicate alliances in Washington. . . An intriguing look at gay activism inside the Beltway." —Kirkus

"Nicholson opens a window on the world of issue advocacy politics, providing keen insight into a realm of political operations that generally occurs out of the public view while offering a working model of a successful movement." —Publishers Weekly

"Former Servicemembers United founder Alexander Nicholson gives an insider's look at the multi-year effort, all in a surprisingly approachable manner. His own military story would have been reason enough for a  book, but thankfully we now have a fascinating—and important—look at history, too." — Instinct Magazine

"Don't read this if you don't want to see how the sausage is made." — Outsmart 

Author Biography

Alexander Nicholson is the founder and executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of LGBT troops and veterans, and was the only person engaged with every aspect of the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" fight—the grassroots, the media, the U.S. Congress, the administration, the Pentagon, and the courts. He lives in Washington, DC.