Karen Solt: 'Hiding for My Life: Being Gay in the Navy' Debut

Join us at the Peregrine on Saturday, June 8th at 2pm for A Conversation with Karen Solt about her newly released memoir: Hiding for My Life: Being Gay in the Navy.

She was recently featured on CNN as part of its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" coverage.



Profiled on CNN in September as part of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell coverage

"Thoroughly captivating” –– Grethe Cammermeyer, COL (ret), RN, PhD, USAR, and author of Serving in Silence


NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 13–– Karen Solt’s memoir, Hiding for My Life: Being Gay in the Navy (paperback original, ISBN-13: 978-1647426729, 304pp, $17.95), will be published on June 4 by She Writes Press, distributed to the trade by PGW, and beginning in August 2024, distributed by Simon & Schuster. Solt, a retired US Navy senior chief petty officer, served as a gay sailor from 1984 to 2006, prior to and during Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and was recently featured on CNN.

Solt, an eighteen-year-old nonconformist with an alcohol problem, is working at a gas station when a slick Navy recruiter railroads her into enlisting in the military. Before she knows it, she is on a ship in the Deep South, struggling to navigate not only a world much different from her small Northern Arizona hometown but also her new discovery: she’s gay.

Figuring out her sexuality clarifies many things, but also creates a daunting new set of problems, for Karen. It’s 1984: being gay in the Navy is considered a crime, and gay sailors are regularly hunted by the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. Discovery means being kicked out, and by this point she is committed to the uniform (and to remaining with her first girlfriend, who is also enlisted). So she learns to hide her secret and find a way to serve—and even thrive professionally—without getting caught. But concealing her truth ultimately leads to devastating consequences.

A story of desire, addiction, the damage of secrets, the power of community, and the soul-crushing cost of turning people into “others,” Hiding for My Life is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit—and a poignant call for each of us to come out from hiding and live our truth.


Early praise for Hiding for My Life: 


“Hiding for My Life recalls the bad old days and all the energy we lost maintaining our closets. Hiding for My Life reminds me that we won't go back.”

—Willa Goodfellow, author, Prozac Monologues: A Voice from the Edge


“Solt takes us on a moving journey through an era―not too long ago―when LGBTQ people serving in the military had to sacrifice their identities. Solt’s emotional writing helps us viscerally feel what it was like for her to be constantly looking over her shoulder, wary lest she lose everything because of who she loves. As she faces tough choices with sometimes tragic consequences, we applaud her spirit and resilience.”

―Patricia Grayhall, author of Making the Rounds


“In a story of love and survival, Karen Solt reveals the harsh realities of being gay in the navy prior to and during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s not until she retires that the true cost of concealment becomes clear. This is a poignant rendering of an important historical period that reveals the complexity of service life for gays and the losses they endured. A great read.”

―Carol E. Anderson, DMin, author of You Can’t Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties


I found Hiding for My Life to be honest, revealing, heartfelt, and insightful. Navy life is extremely demanding, and Solt certainly opened my eyes to the additional struggles that we imposed on a community of sailors that not only affected them, but those close to them as well. Reading it made me want to personally shake the hand of every sailor who had to endure those draconian policies and thank them for their service.”

—Joe R. Campa Jr., 11th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy


About Karen Solt

After hiding her sexuality from the world for most of her life, Solt considers herself a "Combat Hideologist," and believes the way back to personal and global peace and freedom is for every human to come out from hiding and commit to living the truth of who they are. She holds a master's degree in psychology (counseling), is an emotional health coach, and loves to help others discover and heal their own hiding places. She lives in Northern Arizona. To learn more, please visit Karen's website at www.hideology.com

Event date: 

Saturday, June 8, 2024 - 2:00pm

Event address: 

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Hiding for My Life: Being Gay in the Navy By Karen Solt Cover Image
ISBN: 9781647426729
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: She Writes Press - June 4th, 2024