Dan Choi

Dan Choi

 In March 2009, Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran fluent in Arabic, came out on national television. Because of three words – “I am gay” – Lt. Choi’s life changed forever.

In June, 2009 he stood military trial for telling the truth. The military board decided to discharge him for violation of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” He was one of only eight soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.

While the case was appealed, Lt. Choi served openly in his infantry unit for over a year while publicly pushing for the repeal of the immoral policy. In October 2009 he helped lead a 250,000 person march on Washington, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In March 2010 Lt. Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence with fellow gay veteran Captain James Pietrangelo II. The two were arrested and spent the night in prison. They repeated the action in April 2010 with four other veterans. In July 2010 he received notification of his honorable discharge under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” He wrote a letter to the Senate Majority Leader, relinquishing his West Point class ring.

After a third White House arrest in November 2010, Choi attended the bill signing that would repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Following the signing, the Senate Majority Leader returned Lt. Choi’s class ring. Choi replied: “The next time I get a ring from a man, it better be for full, equal, American marriage.”


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