Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Insightful Words from Lt. Dan Choi

 Pink News reports that Lt. Dan Choi has spoken out about why he chained himself to the White House fence last week to protest over Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Saying that he was "tired of talking," Lt. Choi accused some gay equality groups such as the HRC of "betraying" gay people.  He also charged that the movement appeared to be centered around elitism.  Said Lt. Choi in an interview with Newsweek:

Within the gay community so many leaders want acceptance from polite society. I think there's been a betrayal of what is down inside of us in order to achieve what looks popular, what look enviable.

The movement seems to be centered around how to become an elite. There is a deep schism [in the gay-rights movement], everyone knows this.

When I get messages from people who want to be a part of this I ask back: what are you willing to sacrifice? We are tired of being stereotyped as privileged, bourgeois elites.

Is someone willing to give up their career, their relationships with powerful people, their Rolodex, or their parents' love to stand up for who they are? I'm giving up my military rank, my unit – which to me is a family – my veterans' benefits, my health care, so what are you willing to sacrifice?
When questioned why he was he was engaging in civil disobedience now,  he said: "Why now? Because you get tired of talking. I've done 50 live interviews, a hundred other interviews, how much more talk am I expected to produce?"

In the interview Lt Choi said that he had asked Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese and Ms Griffin to accompany him to the White House but neither did. "I feel so betrayed by them," he said.  He added "When I heard Kathy Griffin was going to be a spokeswoman for Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I wondered about that. I have great respect for her as an advocate.But if [the Human Rights Campaign] thinks that having a rally at Freedom Plaza with a comedienne is the right approach, I have to wonder. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not a joking matter to me."

Harvey Milk died over thirty years ago.  He was instrumental in the progress of the gay rights movement, but his life was cut short before he could become a national leader, that household name that all Americans knew. With Lt. Dan Choi, we might just have that leader.

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