COUNTDOWN TO REPEAL

We Salute You: 8 Gay And Lesbian Servicemembers Who Paved The Way For The DADT Repeal

Dan Choi

Like Matlovich and Thorne-Begland before him, Choi, a former Army infantry officer, put himself on the line by outing himself in the media.  He came out on the Rachel Maddow Show in 2009 and immediately became the face of the anti-DADT movement. The new public face of the gay-military cause, Choi also helped found West Point’s LGBT almuni group, Knights Out.

Considered controversial in some corners, Choi hasn’t shied away from bold public statements: He protested against California’s Prop 8,  demonstrated outside the Beverly Hilton where President Obama was addressing the DNC in 2009, went on an anti-DADT hunger strike and, along with other servicemembers, handcuffing himself to the White House fence in April 2010.

Whether he continues to pursue a career in activism is unclear, but it looks like the military is still his first priority: When U.S. federal judge Virginia Phillips ordered the Department of Defense to stop enforcing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in October 2010, Choi went to the Times Square recruiting station to re-enlist in the Army. He’d wavered in recent months but has ultimately decided to return to active service. “Going back to the military will be a vindication,” Choi recently told Politico. [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.”

Image via seanmd80