With the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, you'd think the leading opponent of the policy prohibiting gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military would be celebrating.
But Tustin's Dan Choi, the Army National Guard lieutenant who was discharged from his upper New York state unit in 2010 for violating the policy, reportedly says, “I'm not going to party.”
As I blogged the first day of this month, Choi still has a court case to deal with that could result in his being jailed, not that it was looking that way then:
Still, a weak case and a gay rights movement milestone or no, the very idea of being prosecuted by the country he's served for still leaves a bitter taste in Choi's mouth. As he tells Kevin Douglas Grant of GlobalPost:
“To have something that is your country versus you is not something
you expect when you're coming back from war. . . . The government treats us just like terrorists. It's the
same thing in countries where revolutions are happening. The president
wants to stay in power and doesn't want any embarrassment.”
The 30-year-old who says he suffers from combat-induced post traumatic stress disorder calls what's happening to him and other gays and lesbians “federal homophobia.” And he singles out President Barack Obama as a sufferer of the malady.
Indeed, the unofficial spokesman for the anti-DADT movement believes the 18-year-old's policy's end has less to do with the president and his military leaders boldly letting it run out and more to do with activists like Choi getting “in Obama's face.”
Now, the West Point graduate fears the repeal will appease
the gay community enough that it will drop the ball when it comes to full, legal equality.
“DADT has become something of a manipulation,” he tells Grant. “It's clear that Obama has not fulfilled his promises to our
community. DADT means for me that I can go back. And it
means that I can die for my country. But I still can't get married in my
The next move for Choi, then, may be chaining himself to a wedding cake. But not before he takes a couple more swipes at you-know-who:
“Tuesday is nothing like the 1948 order to integrate. With
a swash of his pen, Obama could say [to gays], 'You are a legitimate
minority.' That's what the 1948 order recognized: equal opportunity. But
as it stands, people are still going to be kicked out, chased out,
discriminated and harassed. There's still going to be that.”
“This guy that I thought was so amazing, he can hurt me more than
anybody because there's nobody who can hurt you more than the one you
once loved, and continue to love. He knows that.”
Choi's problem with Obama could be solved in November 2012. Perhaps then he'll be ready to party. But before he buys confetti and noisemakers, he may want to check out who's in line to replace The Chosen One.
If Lt. Choi feels gays will be less likely to be kicked out, chased out,
discriminated and harassed with the election of any of the declared presidential candidates opposing Obama, I have this advice: don't throw away those chains.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.