Born into a military family, Brett Jones spent his early life traveling around the world, living in the shadows of the Iron Curtain, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and the Pyramids of Egypt.
He defied great odds to fulfill his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, and served for almost a decade in the Navy. He served in two harrowing six-month deployments with SEAL Team 8, later becoming a plank owner of SEAL Team 10.
Brett received numerous awards and commendations during his Navy tenure, but was forced out of the closet, becoming the first openly gay Navy SEAL on active duty. After his hard-fought honorable discharge in 2003, he continued his fight in the war against terror as a security contractor.
Brett currently resides in northern Alabama with his husband, former police sergeant Jason White, and their son. Brett and Jason own and operate a security firm in Huntsville Al.
What motivated you to write a book(s) that is specifically inclusive of LGBTQ families/issues?
It was the summer of 2013 when I started writing Pride. I was deployed overseas, and intended for the book to be a gift to our son. We had no intention of publishing it; in fact, the original title was Dear Ethan (our son’s name). Due to the inherently dangerous nature of my work, and if something bad happened to me, I thought it would be something special he could have to learn about a time in my life he was not a part of. Upon returning from that trip, my brother-in-law read the rough draft and convinced me it could help other people. People who might be struggling with who they are, or whom they think they might be. At the time, marriage equality was a dream in the south. My family is real, and everything to me, something worth fighting or dying for. I wanted people to know that.
What do you personally feel makes a family?
I view a family as two things, a ship and a compass. As a ship, it’s a vessel through which people who love each other can travel through life. As a compass, it helps navigate us through or around storms and threats. What really makes a family is the conviction, sacrifice, and encouragement needed to help those on the boat get to where they need to go, despite weather or circumstance.
Equality looks like a burning mountain. A painful and seemingly impossible thing to climb, but with every step, burn, and scar comes progress as long as we keep ascending.
Whose books do you admire and why?
The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain’s Journey by Linda Greenlaw. Her story had a profound effect on me as a young man. It’s the story of a woman kicking butt in a male dominated field. She is incredibly inspiring, and the book is worth the read. Andy Weir’s The Martian was the last novel I put down, and I’m currently reading the translated poetry of Rumi.
What’s coming up next for you?
Aside from focusing on our company Riley Security, my story is currently in development to be a feature film. The writers, Travis Lively and Chris Luke, are incredibly talented, and I’m confident they will show the world something new.