The Army National Guard has fired
Lieutenant Dan Choi for his membership in a West Point graduate group
that lobbies against the military's ban on open gay service.
Choi appeared in March on MSNBC's
Rachel Maddow Show to promote the newly formed group, Knights Out.
During his appearance, Choi agreed he could be fired for his
participation in the group.
“Is there a possibility that you
could lose 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 supports the thousands of
LGBT soldiers currently serving in the armed forces and educates
military leaders on the “importance of accepting and honoring the
sacrifices and selfless service of their LGBT soldiers and officers,”
according to a press release.
The group also lobbies for repeal of
“don't ask, don't tell” – the 1993, President Bill
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.
Wednesday, Choi, an Iraq War veteran
and Arab linguist, received his discharge notification from the Army
“This is to inform you that
sufficient basis exists to initiate action for withdrawal of federal
recognition in the Army National Guard for moral or professional
dereliction. … Specifically, you admitted publicly that you are a
homosexual, which constitutes homosexual conduct. … Your actions
negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York
Army National Guard,” the letter states.
Thursday, about 25 people protested the
firing near an U.S. Army recruitment office in Irvine, California,
reports the Orange County Register.
“To throw out someone with all that
knowledge and training is a huge disservice,” Archer Altstaetter,
whose sister, a lesbian, was discharged from the Air Force, told the
paper. “It's just not conscionable.”
Choi was fired, ironically, for
speaking out against “don't ask, don't tell.”
“One of the harder things was coming
back from Iraq,” Choi told Maddow in March. “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needs to be repealed.”