At a special panel Sunday at Equality
Forum in Philadelphia, Lt. Dan Choi urged everyone to participate
in the gay rights movement.
In answering a question about whether
he would be interested in running for elected office, Choi, the
nation's most visible opponent of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the
1993 law that forces gay troops to serve in secret, evaded the
question, saying he's “already in politics,” then added that
participation in the equality movement came with few requirements.
“It doesn't require someone to be
called representative or senator or councilmember, what have you,”
Choi said in response to Sirius
XM OutQ News' Tim Curran. “I think every single one of us has
a moral responsibility to step up.”
Choi, 29, an Arab linguist, was
discharged from the Army under “Don't Ask” last year after he
announced he was gay on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He
is currently appealing the Army's decision.
Over the past month, activists have
ratcheted up their demands for repeal as a narrow window of
opportunity to repeal the law this year continues to shrink.
Congress is preparing to vote out of committee next year's defense
budget – believed to be the best bet for repeal – but the
House and the Pentagon appear united in urging lawmakers to kick
repeal down the road a bit.
Choi, and at least 10 other gay
handcuffed themselves to the White House gate during three separate
demonstrations in protest of the military gay ban. Choi has been
“Would you have thought two years
ago, my being an Army officer, closeted, Southern Baptist family,
Korean-American, that I would be the voice for 'Don't Ask, Don't
Tell,' or that I would be a gay activist?”
“The fact of the matter is, there is
no perfect resume for anybody to participate. All that is required
from you is for you to stand up and reclaim your dignity,” he
Equality Forum is the annual LGBT
activist meet up in Philadelphia.