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Army National Guard Lieutenant Dan Choi, gay activist and de facto face of the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is currently being hospitalized–involuntarily committed to the psychiatric ward of the VA Medical Center in Brockton, MA following a “nervous breakdown” and “anxiety attack.”
Choi released a statement to colleague/blogger Pam Spaulding:
I did not initially want to publicize this but I now realize it is critical for our community to know several things: veterans gay or straight carry human burdens, Activists share similar burdens, no activist should be portrayed as super human, and the failures of government and national lobbying carry consequences far beyond the careers and reputations of corporate leaders, elected officials, High powered lobbyists, or political elites. They ruin lives. My breakdown was a result of a cumulative array of stressors but there is no doubt that the composite betrayals felt on Thursday, by elected leaders and gay organizations as well as many who have exploited my name for their marketing purposes have added to the result. I am certain my experience is not an isolated incident within the gay veteran community.
At the same time, those who have been closest to me know that I truly appreciate their gracious help and mentorship. I am indebted to their hospitality and leadership.
If you could share the info and sentiment I’d be most grateful.
Our support and thoughts are with Dan right now–we get it, we get you; just get well.
Naturally, we think a few thanks are in order.
Filed under: anxiety attack, Aren't We All To Blame?, Army National Guard, Center For Military Readiness, DADT, Dan Choi, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Elaine Donnelly, Fillibuster, Gays in the Military, Kill The Fillibuster, Knights Out, Log Cabin Republicans, Lt. Dan Choi Hospitalized, Lt. Dan Choi involuntarily committed, nervous breakdown, one is not enough, Politicians, Repeal DADT, Republicans, Republicans Stall Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal, Scott Brown, Shameful Laws
On Friday of last week, the day after Veterans Day, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, even though a lower court had ruled that the law which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military is unconstitutional. It’s estimated that 66,000 gays and lesbians–or 2 percent of all U.S. military personnel–are currently serving our country. That’s 66,000 people who are making sacrifices, sometimes leaving their loved ones, and often risking their lives for a country that continues to tell them that their sexual orientation is a problem.
L.A.-based photographer Jeff Sheng has spent two years making portraits of a few of these 66,000 good men and women. His “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” photos were on display last week at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Washington, and they’re also available in book form.
Because of DADT, however, Sheng’s portraits are portraits where his subject’s faces have been blurred, obscured, shadowed, and hidden.
“If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits — their 20 years of service in the military would be gone,” Sheng said.
By hiding their faces, his subjects assume the posture of shame. The real shame isn’t in Continue reading AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Jeff Sheng’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Photography Exhibit
Filed under: DADT, Discrimination, Discriminatory Laws, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Ask Don't Tell Photographic Exhibit, Don't Ask Don't Tell Photography Exhibit, Equal Rights, Gays in the Military, Jeff Sheng, LGBT, LGBT Discrimination, Military Policy, Photographers, Repeal DADT, Shame, Shameful Laws, Supreme Court Upholds Don't Ask Don't Tell, U.S. Military, Veterans Day
Since an Army National Guard committee recommended his discharge last summer, Knights Out founder Lt. Dan Choi has been staying active in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Meanwhile, his commander, a big supporter, fought the discharge decision and recently called Choi personally to ask for his return.
The Advocate has reported that Choi rejoined his unit in Pennsylvania last weekend, opting out of a speaking engagement at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference.
As far as we know, he has not snapped a towel, leered at any of his military colleagues, referred to any unform as “fabulous,” nor told any soldier to give him head. In short, he is doing what he was meant to do: serve his country professionally, with honor and loyalty. That duty has nothing whatsoever to do with the gender he dates and is a heckuvalot more than most of us would or could do ourselves.
We sure as hell feel a whole lot safer knowing he’s out there protecting us.
Thanks, Isaac and Jaime!
Filed under: Army National Guard, Army National Guard Committee, Bullshit Policy, Dan Choi, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Gays in the Military, Gaysians, Heroes, Knights Out, Lieutenant Dan Choi Fired from Army, Military Men, Safety First, US Military
Last week marked the first annual Military Rape Awareness Week, sponsored by Veterans For Peace, a non-profit and officially-recognized United Nations NGO comprised of military veterans seeking alternatives to war.
Military Rape Awareness Week was conceived as a response to a recent Veterans Administrative Study funded by the US Army Medical Corps that found 1 in 3 women in the military have been raped.
US Army Reserves Staff Sgt. Sandra Lee, who was raped twice while serving in Iraq, is one of those women. She spoke at the week’s kickoff event, at the Times Square Recruiting Station in NYC:
And we’re worried about gays in the military because why?
Filed under: Amazians, Gays in the Military, Iraq War Veterans, Military Rape Awareness Week, Rape in the Military, Rape Victims, Sandra Lee, Scary Studies, U.S. Army, US Military, Veterans, Veterans' Affairs
A man dressed as a ninja and waving nunchucks was arrested this week for standing on a street corner in Vernon, CT, and making a ruckus about wanting to beat up Senator Joe Lieberman. When police approached the ninja with tasers, it was reported that the stealth, would-be senator-beater became “polite and cooperative.”
While a) identifying your target openly and b) becoming “polite and cooperative” when the authorities arrive don’t exactly sound like typical ninja behaviors, who hasn’t wanted to get all shinobi-wan-kenobi on Lieberman’s party-flip-flopping assssss?
But hold on there, Lieberman-haters. Because it appears Obama’s putting the old grimacing malcontent, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, in charge of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Looks like we need him on our side, at least for the time being.
Although if he effs this up, ninjas…to the rooftops, we say!
Mr. President, we’re watching and waiting (patiently, as you’ve asked) for you to make good on this promise. And so is our hero, Dan Choi. Here he is on The Situation Room today:
We hope that the next time he goes into the studio to talk to Wolf, he’s celebrating the eradication of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
In the current issue of the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal, Joint Force Quarterly, Air Force colonel Om Prakash has published an article arguing that openly gay troops do not hurt unit cohesion or combat effectiveness, calling the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy a “costly failure” and asking President Obama to find a way to repeal the ban.
The essay was selected as the winner of this year’s Secretary of Defense essay contest and was reviewed in advance of publication by the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the NY Times. Prakash, who works in the office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, studied the issue while a student at the National War College. The article signals a shift in the thinking of the Pentagon’s top officials and is expected to put pressure on Obama to repeal DADT.
In “The Efficacy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Prakash reasons:
…the law as it currently stands does not prohibit homosexuals from serving in the military as long as they keep it secret. This has led to an uncomfortable value disconnect as homosexuals serving, estimated to be over 65,000, must compromise personal integrity. Given the growing gap between social mores and the law, DADT may do damage to the very unit cohesion that it seeks to protect.
Yes sir, Colonel! We couldn’t agree more.
Last night, The Daily Show totally nailed the absurdity of the Army firing Lieutenant Dan Choi–West Point grad, Iraq War vet, and much-needed Arabic translator–after he violated its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:
To protest Lt. Dan Choi’s firing and to ask President Obama to keep his promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” click here.