Dan Choi, the outspoken gay activist who was discharged from the army for revealing his sexuality, told Politico on Tuesday that he plans to re-enlist in the armed forces now that ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is no longer law.
Choi, a former army lieutenant who served in Iraq from 2006-2007, became a public face of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ after he came out on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ in 2009. Following that public admission, Choi was discharged from the armed forces under the Clinton-era policy, which forbade gay and lesbian military personnel to disclose their sexual preference before its repeal became official on Tuesday.
“Going back to the military will be a vindication,” Choi said. “[I’m] going back because I fought to go back. The seriousness of our claims was not just political theatre – it was really drawn from our lives. I sacrificed so much so I could go back.”
Choi, who graduated from West Point in 2003 joined “Knights Out,” an LGBT alumni group for the school, which he represented during his fateful ‘Maddow’ appearance. After learning that he would be discharged, he wrote a well-publicized open letter to President Obama, which called his treatment “a slap in the face,” made numerous TV appearances, and was arrested and put on trial for his role in a protest in front of the White House.
Choi told Politico that he had an appointment with a recruiter from the Army Reserves, and that he’s not certain of what his role would be if he were accepted back. But he warned that even though ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is history, his struggle for equality is not over. “We have to recognize that just because black and white people sat together at a lunch counter, it doesn’t mean that there was no racism.” he said. “Just because we abolish some of the legal discrimination, it does not mean that all of the animosity is going to end.”