Lt. Daniel Choi, who became the face of the movement to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays on the military, says he plans to rejoin the Army now that he can serve openly. Choi was discharged after two tours of duty in Iraq because he outed himself on national television. (You can read more about him in Steven Thrasher’s Village Voice cover story “Bad Lieutenant.”) Earlier this week, when things weren’t looking so good for the repeal, Choi checked himself into a mental health facility, writing: “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.” Things are better now!
Writing at the Huffington Post, Choi insists that the “mission is not finished; it has only just begun.” He also details the next steps:
I call on all soldiers to gain the courage to come out. First come out to yourselves, then tell your trusted friends and family. Tell everyone who you trust and who deserves nothing less than truth. Stop hating yourselves as your country has signaled for so long. Furthermore, your coming out is not for you. It is for all those who come after. Military service is not about rank, pension or paycheck. Climbing the ladder is shameful without true purity of service and I applaud those who give up the superficial artifacts of career in favor of complete integrity and justice.
He goes on to call out those against the repeal, namely the “fear-mongering of John McCain” and hold President Obama to the responsibility of instituting “justice now.” In conclusion, he writes:
I intend to rejoin the military and serve in any capacity I can be of best use. I intend to marry and have a family of my own. We are living in a truly historic moment where we can enjoy the rewards of our efforts. We stand on the shoulders of many who have come before us, from Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich to our present day heroes. We owe it to them to continue fighting. Our loudness does not distract but enhances the fight. Our direct action puts wind in the sails of lobbyists and political elites who do our bidding on the inside. We are one team with one goal: Equality in our lifetime. I do not intend to waver or retreat in pursuit of this new life purpose and mission, and neither should any American who loves justice.