Some members of a new gay group might
be at risk of loosing their jobs. Membership in Knights Out, a
recently formed group composed of out West Point graduates, is akin
to violating the “don't tell” part of the military's ban on
openly gay service for active duty members.
Appearing Friday on MSNBC's Rachel
Maddow Show, Army Lieutenant Dan Choi agreed he could be fired for
“Is there a possibility that you
could loose your job? That you could be at risk for getting kicked
out of the service for doing this?” Maddow asked.
“Absolutely,” Choi replied.
The group says it wants to support the
thousands of LGBT soldiers currently serving in the armed forces and
educate military leaders on the “importance of accepting and
honoring the sacrifices and selfless service of their LGBT soldiers
and officers,” the group said in a press release.
The group is also lobbying for repeal
of “don't ask, don't tell” – the 1993, Clinton-approved law
that prescribes discharge as the remedy for gay service members who
do not remain quiet about their sexuality or do not remain celibate.
In lobbying for repeal of the law and
publicly outing themselves (a membership roster is available at
active duty members have placed themselves in jeopardy of discharge
under the law. How many of the group's 45 members fall into that
category was not available.
The military discharged eleven gay
soldiers in January. The figure was released by Virginia Rep. Jim
Moran's office. Moran, a long-time opponent of the military gay ban
and a member of the Military Appropriations subcommittee, is a
co-sponsor of California Rep. Ellen Tauscher's Military Readiness
Enhancement Act, a bill currently in Congress that would repeal the
Opponents of repeal say open service
would “sexualize” the military and often portray gay men and
women as sexual predators who infiltrate the military to have at its
Choi, who served an extended tour in
Iraq in 2006-2007, said he was “horrified” of being discharged
while serving in Iraq and remained closeted.
“One of the harder things was coming
back from Iraq,” Choi said. “Being an Iraq combat veteran, an
Arabic linguist, a West Point graduate, I come back to America as a
second class citizen who is forced to lie because of this rule –
because of this law – and because Congress has not yet overturned
this. And we're saying, once and for all, it needs to be repealed.”