Choi: Upcoming Trial Is “A Badge Of Honor”

1 Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, the gay Army officers arrested March 18 and April 20 for handcuffing themselves to the gate around the White House, will go on trial July 14 for two counts of failure to obey a lawful order stemming from protest actions.

If found guilty, they could each pay up to $1,000 as a fine.

The Washington Blade has an interview with Choi, who explains his reasons for his actions and says he isn't concerned with any punishment he receives (jail is unlikely):

"To be able to stand up and get punished and to continue to sacrifice in a visible way is a badge of honor on behalf of those people who have not yet been able to do the bare minimum of their steps toward gaining dignity—and that is coming out."

President Obama was recently subpoenaed as a witness but is not expected to be compelled to appear in court.


  1. Raul says

    He is not my type of men but I AM TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH Lt. Dan Choi.

    and i love him everyday a little more. he is a true hero for our community. Keep fighting Lt. you will win.

  2. Career says

    Dan Choi’s fame is a function of the lack of knowledge or interest in the details of military service among the gay civilians who have promoted him as a spokesman.

    Choi spent 4 years at West Point, and upon graduation in 2003 was commissioned a 2LT (second lieutenant). In normal times, a new 2LT is virtually guaranteed (95%+) promotion to CAPT (captain) in four years.

    The wars have created a shortage of junior officers, so the promotion track has been cut to 3-1/2 years, and the “guaranteed promotion” practice has been extended upward to MAJ (major). In Choi’s case, he should have been a CAPT by the end of 2006, and probably sooner because of his West Point background and more than a year in combat service.

    However, Choi never made CAPT. In mid-2008, having not been promoted, he left active duty and joined the NY National Guard, where he was also not promoted. A year later, after five years active and a year in the Guard, he “courageously” outed himself on Rachel Maddow’s show, where he was greeted as some sort of hero by someone without a clue about how the military does things.

    Choi’s failure to make CAPT in five years, during wartime, with combat service, is highly unusual. It strongly suggests clear deficiencies in his performance. Since he didn’t come out until 2009, his being gay was almost certainly not the issue. In the real world, the weeding out of gay officers historically starts at the O-4 (major) level, and now (because of the junior officer shortage) at the 0-5 (lt. colonel) level.

    Yeah, I know this is all detail of the kind that people don’t have patience with. But it needs to be out there, because Lt. Choi is simply not the spokesman we need. Anyone who understands the military knows this, and therefore his impact within that world is nil, or counterproductive.

  3. walter says

    hey to me he is a hero and i served and knew many captains and majors with 15 and 16 years service and that was during vietnam when many were dying so promotions were quick. and if this now our government wants to treat our serviceman then why serve our government. @ career are you gay and serving or just a homophobe in the military or not not in military at all

  4. Career says

    @Walter, gay retired military. An LT of the Point who didn’t make CAPT in 5 years is almost guaranteed to be a fuckup. Choi’s actions at the White House fence, and his “hunger strike,” confirm that viewpoint. The guy is straight out of the high school drama club.

  5. walter says

    @career i knew a lot of good officer who for one reason or another couldn’t catch a break but knew some who did so much ass kissing that they would probably make 5 star

  6. Career says

    @Walter, that’s true enough. Still, be real. A West Point graduate, with a combat deployment, not making O-3 within five years during wartime? Something’s the matter.

  7. Career says

    @Walter, the suspicion that he’s gay isn’t enough to block promotion from O-2 to O-3. The Army badly needs junior officers. The skids are greased for promotions. To block a guy, you really have to go out of your way, and then you have to defend that decision. It’s a lot of paperwork and a lot of hassle, at a time when people don’t have the time.

    To try to say, “I think he’s a fag” isn’t anywhere near enough. If that were the case, it might get noticed and come into play later on, but not between O-2 and O-3 in the middle of a war.

  8. Rob G. says

    What part of civil disobedience escapes Choi?

    You break the law as a protest. You accept the consequences.

    That’s the price for your activism.

    This is grandstanding.

  9. walter says

    @ rob g. never heard of actuo sometimes it is the only way things get done. you think it the civil rights movement didn’t have protest things would have gotten done.
    @ career i have seen him speak in person he is pretty good

  10. Michael @ says

    @ career: the “problem” is obviously not with Dan Choi. It’s with someone who doesn’t even have the integrity or balls to sign HIS OWN NAME when demonizing someone else. Coward much?

    It’s the fact that you couldn’t be more transparently an ObamaZombie ruthlessly determined to attack anyone who dares dis your Lord & Savior Barack Christ…particularly the person who has done more than anyone else to publicly embarrass him for his BETRAYAL of gay servicemembers…than if you had a neon sign flashing out your ass, “LEAVE BRITNEY er BARACK ALONE!”

    Finally, there is the fact that your entire, pathological attempt to discredit Dan is based on alleging that he would have no positive influence on anyone in the military when his intended “target” has NEVER been the opinion of those in the military.

    But the objective need look no further than our best ally in Congress, former Army CAPT Patrick Murphy, an Iraq veteran and former West Point faculty member, who when asked his opinion of Dan after his first arrest at the White House said:

    “Dan Choi is a hero.”

    So who the fuck are you, No Name, and what have YOU done to advance the end of the ban on gay servicemembers?

  11. Career says

    @Michael, I’m not attacking Choi personally. I don’t know him. I am doubting the military record and questioning the behavior of someone who I “know” only through the media. And who are you to demand my full name when you don’t post yours?

  12. Career says

    Oh wait, I see. You are Michael Bedwell, and your website advises the following: “DO use a screen name or a pseudonym to avoid disclosing your identity.” Hmm.

    And what has Choi done to end DADT? Near as I can tell, he has used DADT to make $10,000 per speech.

  13. Michael @ says

    @ career:

    If you’re claiming to be someone gay serving in the military to whom such advice was directed re writing on the Internet, there is still no excuse strategically or in fact for your demonization of Dan that you have the typical coward’s gall to DENY is an attack.

    You attempt to discredit someone you admit not personally knowing by a laborious analysis of what you presume to be his military career.

    You assert that he makes “$10,000 per speech” without being in any position to know what he might make or not make, combined with slurring him as exploiting DADT for financial gain…but still insist you’re not attacking him. If you are in the military, you must be writing from a VA psych ward. Read this quickly before the attendants catch you and watch this time while you actually swallow your dose of haloperidol.

    1. Did Dan graduate from West Point? Yes.
    2. Did Dan risk his life in Iraq? Yes.
    3. Does Dan have the full support of his National Guard commander and unit? Yes.
    4. Does he have the support of our allies in Congress? Yes. Declaration that Dan “is a hero” by Congressman and former Army CAPT Patrick Murphy above, and Senate Armed Services Committe Chair Carl Levin can be seen in a C-Span video following the Feb, 2nd SASC hearing telling Dan that he’s followed his career and admires him.
    5. When not on drills with his unit or otherwise fulfilling his monthly NG requirement, Dan works against DADT full-time. HRC head Joe Solmonese whose idea of fighting DADT is appearing with Kathy Griffin after she called one of our straight allies in Congress “a big old queen” makes over $300,000 a year, has a paid staff of over 100, his own building, and his own FLAG. Is Dan earning SOME amount for his work when his hosts can afford it fair? Damn yes!
    6. Who are YOU really and what is YOUR real motivation? Unknown.

  14. Coward Much? says

    “It’s with someone who doesn’t even have the integrity or balls to sign HIS OWN NAME when demonizing someone else. Coward much?”

    Ahem. Seriously, Leland Frances? You’re gonna go there?

  15. Career says

    @Michael or Leland Frances or whatever, I am old enough to remember Matlovich. He was ahead of his time, and I greatly respected him back then. But I don’t have the same respect for Choi, for the reasons I have given.

    Choi’s speaking fees have been reported in the gay press. If he were doing any good, I wouldn’t begrudge him his speaking fees, but I think he is a problem child, an opportunist, and a loose cannon.

    When I say that, I am speaking of Choi the public figure. For all I know, he’s a good guy. However, as a spokesman for DADT repeal I think he’s damaged goods. I’d much rather see whoever makes “stars” out of these people pick someone else for stardom.

  16. TANK says

    sez career, who’s defending the homophobic survey (stalling tactic) on DADT. Whatever motivates choi, he gets the message out effectively, and moreso, is not willing to compromise with bigots on DADT repeal.

  17. Career says

    I haven’t “defended” the survey. I am withholding judgment on it, until I know more of the details. “Tank” knows this, and is misrepresenting my views.

  18. TANK says

    Until you know more details? You’re defending a blatently homophobic survey that, even if it weren’t blatatently homophobic, would serve no legitimate purpose for DADT repeal…until you know more details? You know you can read survey now…LMAO! More details? Like what font it’s in? How many douchebags it took to have it released? As I said, you’re no ally, and your commitment to DADT repeal is inconsistent at best. I’ll take dan choi over you any day on this issue.

  19. Career says

    Here is the survey.

    I don’t see anything wrong with the questions. They are neutral and straightforward. The sample size (200K active, 200K reserve) is large, and I wonder why. They say the distribution is random. I will be interested to know whether this turns out to be the case from the return patterns, i.e., will completed surveys match the military’s composition?

  20. TANK says

    Exactly, career. You see nothing wrong with the survey. That says all I need to know about you. Incidentally, you have just undermined all of your criticism of dan choi.

  21. TANK says

    You’re playing language games, too…quite flagrantly. With your own translation rules and operation manual…i.e., defending homophobia at the expense of a consistent, clear support for DADT repeal, while belittling Dan Choi (a visible, unequivocal advocate for DADT repeal) in a transparent attempt to discredit him, and by implication, his message. I don’t like your game, and I choose not to play…because the only people who can win are losers.

  22. Career says

    @Tank, you’ve been “playing” all the way along, and so has Choi. DADT doesn’t really matter to you, or to Choi, whose military career was a failure before he ever raised the issue.

    Adults are working on this. Let them finish their job, and you can go back to Lady Ga-Ga on your iphone or whatever it is you do.

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