UTSA speaker writes book on fighting for equality in the military – and at home


October 18, 2021 – “Overcoming Adversity” is a phrase often – and widely – used for a myriad of reasons. Social work University of Texas at San Antonio professor Eric Alva knows full well how to face – and overcome – real adversity.

In his recently published book, Radical courage, the retired Marine Staff Sergeant shares his story of becoming gay in the military and his ongoing advocacy for equality in the United States.

Although Alva’s story is powerful and meaningful, he never intended to tell it in book form. “Over time, and I continue to witness oppression and discrimination, I knew I had to do it,” he said. “Telling my story is in the hope of empowering and inspiring people to be authentic. “

Alva was the first American serviceman injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and has been hailed as a brave American hero – a title on which he is a bit ambivalent.

“I’m not a perfect person,” he said. “But I am a good citizen. I served my country, I pay my taxes, we help our neighbors. Everyone in this world deserves to be happy, and for [politicians] come in and try to strip what I was fighting for – it’s just not true, and I’m going to talk about it.

Radical courageAs a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, Alva was instrumental in repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy on gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemen, working with military members. of Congress to end the discriminatory practice.

Alva’s book delves into his experience navigating complex intersectionalities and his battle for equality in the military, and he uses these examples as a springboard to discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace. job.

The title of the book has significant meaning for Alva, who insists that he has no more courage than the average person.

“I think we all have courage,” said Alva. “Sometimes we are afraid to express it for fear of being denied or unwelcome. But everyone must realize that their life is valuable.

* Radical Courage is available from all major booksellers.


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