On March 19, 2009, Rachel Maddow interviewed Dan Choi, an infantry leader in the New York National Guard, on her MSNBC show. Choi graduated from West Point, served in Iraq, is an Arabic language specialist, and is gay. He openly announced his sexuality in the March 19 interview and has since been discharged from the army for homosexual conduct under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that has been in effect for 15 years. We previously blogged about this policy here.
The ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been responsible for approximately 12,500 members of the United States Armed Forces being discharged. After Choi received a letter informing him he would be discharged from the armed forces for “homosexual conduct,” he stated he will “fight tooth and nail” to keep his position in the Army National Guard. His homosexuality in no way undermines his qualifications for a job that he had proudly and successfully performed.
The dismissal of qualified and trained soldiers simply because of their sexuality is wrong. Dan Choi is one of many soldiers plagued by a life of secrecy, trying to defend both his country and his beliefs. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy needs to be overturned as soon as possible. Freedom is always a priority.