Articles tagged with: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)
The very real consequences of DADT repeal; seeking survivor benefits for same-sex partner of Alaska shooting victim; waiting on SCOTUS decision about whether it will hear Prop 8 case; and other recent LGBTQ news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.
Brig. Gen. Tammy S. Smith becomes the first openly gay officer of flag rank in U.S. military, California Senate votes to make “ex-gay” therapy illegal for use with minor children; our community’s changing alphabet soup; and other recent LGBTQ news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.
Federal appeals court rules DOMA unconstitutional; lesbian councilwoman may become NYC’s next mayor; gay students graduating openly at military academies; and other recent LGBTQ news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska (with supplemental info from Bent Alaska).
I scream, you scream, we all scream for (Ben & Jerry’s) ice cream (for marriage equality in the UK), the same-sex marriage debate in the black community, and other recent LGBTQ news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.
Lambda Legal answers the question: Now that DADT has been repealed, can former servicemembers who were discharged under that policy re-enlist?
Lt. Dan Choi is a West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran and Arabic linguist. He was the nation’s leading activist for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Bent Alaska presents his story as part of our celebration of LGBT History Month 2011, with thanks to the Equality Forum.
Lt. Dan Choi (born February 22, 1981) is a West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and Arabic linguist. He was the nation’s leading activist for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
Choi was born in Orange County, California, and raised in an evangelical Korean-American household. His father is a Baptist minister; his mother is a nurse. Inspired by the film “Saving Private Ryan”, Choi decided to attend West Point.
After graduating from West Point with degrees in Arabic linguistics and environmental engineering, Choi served as an Army infantry officer in Iraq. In 2008, he transferred from active duty to the Army National Guard. That same year, Choi and a group of West Point alumni founded Knights Out, an organization supporting the rights of LGBT soldiers.
In 2009, Choi appeared on the “The Rachel Maddow Show” and said something that would change his life forever: “I am gay.” Within a month, the U.S. Army notified him that he was being discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
When he received his discharge papers, Choi knew he had to fight back. He wrote an open letter asking President Obama to repeal the policy and reinstate him, calling his discharge “a slap in the face.”
Choi sent his West Point graduation ring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It was a reminder to the senator of a promise he made to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians in the military.
Choi became the leading activist and national spokesman for the repeal of DADT. His media savvy drew attention to the issue. In 2010, he was arrested three times for handcuffing himself to the White House fence during protests.
Later in 2010, Choi was invited to the White House to witness President Obama signing the bill repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law. Afterward, Senator Reid invited Choi to his office, where he returned Choi’s West Point ring.
“The next time I get a ring from a man,” Choi responded, “I expect it to be for full, equal American marriage.”
Choi continues to advocate for LGBT civil rights and for veterans’ health benefits. He is a graduate student at Harvard University. He resides in New York.
In March 2009, Lt. Dan Choi said “I am gay” on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show. Watch:
Lt. Choi was interviewed again by Rachel Maddow in May 2009, after he was discharged from the Army for being gay. Watch:
Photo credit: Lt. Dan Choi at New York City pride march, 27 June 2010. Photo by Boss Tweed (on Flickr); used in accordance with Creative Commons license.
Post-DADT presidential politics, as illustrated by continuing reaction to the booing of an active-duty gay soldier at a Sep. 22 GOP candidates debate; and more in this edition of Bent News.
Presidential politics, post-DADT
- Cain says he should’ve defended booed gay soldier; McCain says all GOP candidates should’ve. (via @AMERICAblogGay) http://t.co/EirAGYud #
Nearly two weeks after audience members at a Republican presidential debate booed Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq who asked if GOP candidates planned to “circumvent” the repeal of DADT, Republican candidates and politicians are defending — or not defending — their lack of response to the disrespect shown an active-duty servicemember.
I don’t know when they booed and I don’t know why they booed. But I will tell you, that the boos and applause hasn’t always coincided with my own views, but I haven’t stepped in to try and say, ‘this one is right, this one is wrong.’ Instead, I focus on the things I think I will say.
ThinkProgress reports that “Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Herman Cain are the only candidates to publicly distance themselves from the jeering after last month’s debate.” Both Rick Santorum and Herman Cain have stated they would reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell if elected president.
President Obama, by contrast, told the audience at the annual Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner last Saturday,
We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don’t believe in that…
“We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. We don’t believe in them being silent since. You want to be commander in chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient. We don’t believe in a small America. We believe in a big America — a tolerant America, a just America, an equal America — that values the service of every patriot.
Audience members gave the President a standing ovation. ThinkProgress has video — watch:
ThinkProgress also has analysis and text of President Obama’s full speech at the HRC dinner.
Notably at Saturday’s dinner, there was a table filled with servicemembers — both active-duty and retired — wearing their uniforms. HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz said it was a first for active-duty members to do so, since it’s also the first post-DADT dinner.
However, President Obama is “still working” on his views about same-sex marriage, and is still stopping short of advocating for full marriage equality, though he endorsed the end of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
- Week in Review of LGBT news from @gaycivilrights Wall Street, Saudi women suffrage, DADT cases, Obama at HRC http://t.co/48RLl1GG #
- Why do conservatives oppose military chaplains’ religious liberty? (via @TPEquality) http://t.co/R5QfrMSp #
- @afterellen tells us about five documentaries to watch during LGBT History Month http://t.co/OKvFUFeG #
- Country singer Toby Keith OK on same-sex marriage? Yep! Whaddaya know. Good for him. (via @TheAdvocateMag) http://t.co/QFwfC3lN #
- South Africa: So-called “corrective rape” of lesbians — & now a serial killer may be stalking gay men. The Advocate http://t.co/AK5sDIBM #
“A Few Gay Men”: Jon Stewart and Jason Jones of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show report on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Alaskan soldiers & Senator Begich reflect on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which ended on Tuesday, and the LGBT community celebrates at two local events.
It’s not a post-DADT world yet, but it will be after September 20 — and University of Alaska Anchorage will be celebrating! Wear camo and join the UAA students and veterans as we celebrate the end of this discriminatory legislation. We’ll be at the Student Union with pizza and other resources.
Why September 20? It marks 60 days after the formal certification of DADT repeal by President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — and as passed by Congress, the repeal bill required that wait before DADT could finally end.
Other celebrations will be going on around the country: check Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) for details. If you’re in the service, see SLDN’s new guide to the post-DADT military, Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Military Service.