Dan Choi: Getting Equal

Day 27 of the Pride 30 Project for Pride Month, 2018.

“Gays and lesbians have lobbied for years and years,” said McGehee. “Now it’s time to rumble.”

Choi and Pietrangelo had both been ousted from the military for being gay. When Choi came out on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show in March of 2009, he received discharge papers for “telling” — and on national television, no less. Following his discharge, Choi penned an open letter to President Obama and Congress. The DADT policy is “a slap in the face to me,” he wrote. “It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers, and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers.” Choi and other West Point alumni also formed Knights Out, an organization to support gay West Point graduates, and he was elected as the group’s spokesperson.

“When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

“People say it is inappropriate for me to get arrested in uniform, but to me it is the validation of all that I signed up to do,” said Choi, reflecting on his activism. “I say what I had to go through is what tarnishes the uniform more than anything.”



QHFTP aims to make LGBTQ history and culture available, and accessible, to all. We cannot work effectively for change unless we know where we've been and the history of those made invisible by mainstream narratives.

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Jeffry J. Iovannone

Historian, writer, and educator with a PhD in American Studies. I specialize in gender and LGBTQ history of the U.S. Email: jeffry.iovannone@gmail.com