Dan Choi | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News

Dan Choi Hospitalized

Pam Spaulding reports that Dan Choi has been hospitalized and has sought help from mental health practitioners at a Veterans Administration facility.

Choi wrote Pam an email, explaining:

Choi I did not initially want to publicize this but I now realize it is critical for our community to know several things: veterans gay or straight carry human burdens, Activists share similar burdens, no activist should be portrayed as super human, and the failures of government and national lobbying carry consequences far beyond the careers and reputations of corporate leaders, elected officials, High powered lobbyists, or political elites. They ruin lives. My breakdown was a result of a cumulative array of stressors but there is no doubt that the composite betrayals felt on Thursday, by elected leaders and gay organizations as well as many who have exploited my name for their marketing purposes have added to the result. I am certain my experience is not an isolated incident within the gay veteran community.

At the same time, those who have been closest to me know that I truly appreciate their gracious help and mentorship. I am indebted to their hospitality and leadership.

Autumn Sandeen, a veteran herself who participated with Choi in several of the anti-DADT civil disobedience events, adds her thoughts:

What I do know is that Dan did the responsible thing, and decided to seek professional help through the Veterans Administration when he felt he needed help. He is no doubt resting and receiving the help of professionals that he needs. And, he chose to inform people publicly that he is hospitalized, and he is receiving treatment.

It's too easy to forget that Dan Choi is not just a brave and strong combat veteran, but he's a human being too. I know that from time I've spent with him before engaging in the White House direct actions he truly is brave and strong. He's lived through combat; he's taken upon himself a fight against Don't Ask, Don't Tell for what he hopes will be the benefit of the broad LGBT community. Those are some big stressors Dan has taken upon himself.

I've watched as politicians treat lesbian, gay, and bisexual veterans as if they are political footballs instead of qualified, honorable servicemembers who are prepared to die for their country. I'm sure Dan personally feels treated as less than fully human by many politicians in Washington. Dan's bravery and strength have limitations, and it now appears that he's ran into some of those limits.

Dan isn't alone. There are many, many servicemembers who have seen combat -- enduring stresses most of us can't imagine -- and yet are still valuable members of society. Dan has been, and still is, a valuable member of his veterans and LGBT communities. Hopefully, when Dan has engaged for awhile in the treatment he knows he needs, he'll again be productive -- but hopefully while taking better care of his own needs in the process, and hopefully while better functioning within his own limitations.

I hope that Dan gets the help he needs. He has certainly been and continues to be an invaluable warrior and leader in the fight against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and a powerful voice for equality.

We wish him the best.

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  1. Very sad. I hope he gets the help he needs.

    Posted by: BOBBY | Dec 14, 2010 9:21:37 PM

  2. Take care of yourself, Dan!

    Posted by: cgd | Dec 14, 2010 9:27:22 PM

  3. The most unpleasant and unfortunate aspect of this is that he is dead on correct. "We" mean nothing to them. "We" are just flimsy little faggot lives to be disregarded unless it serves their purpose on some other level. "We" are not people who deserve equal treatment under the laws of this country.

    Obama and a long list of "friends" sold us out with their political agendas. Why is that the repeal of DADT had to be tucked into a money bill? I would venture that repeal of DADT was never the intended goal - but rather the rejection of the spending bill for future collateral damage and yet keep the appeasement factor high for continued contributions. They - ALL of them - are playing us for fools.

    Now, it is the courts we must rely on. It is the courts that we must present ourselves to. And it is the courts where we will live or die.

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 14, 2010 9:28:41 PM

  4. I have infinite respect for his bravery and courage in standing up against this inhumane system. Please let us not fail to recognize the tremendous toll that heroes like this face. The Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, is also stepping down because of the pressure on his partner and himself. These pioneers pay a tremendous price for all of us. Please pause a moment and remember their sacrifice. Include them in your prayers. Lt. Choi, we salute you, sir. Your sacrifice for this country has been immense. Thank you for you dedicated service to your country.

    Posted by: Craig | Dec 14, 2010 9:31:25 PM

  5. Mental illness is unfairly stigmatized within America, which has prevented many veterans for getting the help they need with PTSD and any number of other illnesses. I've long theorized that Dan Choi was struggling with mental illness, and I hope he can get the help he needs. If -- just as an example -- he were to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I'd hope he'd be as visible an advocate for the mentally ill as he's been for LGBT servicemembers.

    Posted by: GMB | Dec 14, 2010 9:32:43 PM

  6. Here's wishing him a speedy recovery.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Dec 14, 2010 9:33:34 PM

  7. Very sorry to hear of this, but glad that Lt. Choi is stepping back and taking care of himself. God knows he’s spent enough time looking after the rights of others. Thank you, Lieutenant.

    Posted by: ichabod | Dec 14, 2010 9:48:52 PM

  8. I think I read in the Rolling Stone article that his family is very conservative and have pretty much rejected him since he came out and that he was basically couch-surfing and relying on friends, as his benefits were curtailed because of the 'dishonorable' discharge.

    Im my opinion, he's shown incredibly-strong character in the face of a massive sh!t-storm, and I wish him well.

    Posted by: Terrance | Dec 14, 2010 9:49:33 PM

  9. Continue to be brave..my prayers and thoughts are with you!

    Posted by: keith | Dec 14, 2010 10:00:55 PM

  10. I am even more proud of him than ever.

    Not only for his selfless work to strengthen our rights to serve our country, but also for being honest about his seeking help with the mental stresses he is dealing with.

    Maybe this will help others both gay and straight realize that it is "OK" to admit you need help when speaking of mental illness!

    Thanks again Dan for everything you do, and rest up and be well soon!


    Posted by: Michael | Dec 14, 2010 10:13:42 PM

  11. Speedy recovery Lt. Choi.

    Posted by: JK | Dec 14, 2010 10:14:46 PM

  12. It was Obama's fault that he had a manic phase and grindred about? Please, it is an insult to those with mental illness to have the delusion to blame your mental health problems on the President and lobbying groups that you felt didn't do enough. Mental illness is real, and not caused by legislation you support not passing.

    Posted by: How Dare He | Dec 14, 2010 10:21:20 PM

  13. Not fit to serve.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 14, 2010 10:21:35 PM

  14. Be well - you are and will be a hero to many!

    Posted by: John | Dec 14, 2010 10:31:12 PM

  15. Mike's point is taken. Even if homosexuals are soon allowed to serve openly, Lt. Choi may not get his commission back. Mental illness of any kind isn't acceptable to the armed services and probably never will be.

    Someone who found out personally.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Dec 14, 2010 10:36:25 PM

  16. Anyone wasting a phone call on Fat Pam Spaulding in North Carolina really must be crazy.

    Posted by: JT | Dec 14, 2010 10:42:15 PM

  17. Mental illness? Some of you make it appear as if his breakdown is a permanent condition.

    Posted by: Adrian | Dec 14, 2010 10:45:56 PM

  18. Um, yeah "how dare he". Didn't really get that from his post. Despite what you think of him, he has done a lot for the LGBT community. What the hell have you done.

    Get well soon Dan and take care of yourself.

    Posted by: Steven | Dec 14, 2010 10:46:44 PM

  19. Geez. As someone with bipolar disorder, some of these posts equating Choi's activism with some undiagnosed mental illness make me cringe. Trust me, Choi is composed and articulate in his activism, completely unlike someone suffering from a manic episode. Get well soon, Dan, and I'm thankful he's taken the initiative to seek help for his problems.

    Posted by: Amber | Dec 14, 2010 10:52:58 PM

  20. I can attest to the difficult stress that activists gay or straight face.It can be brutal and this is the end result of the governments failings. That is well agreed upon on my part.

    Posted by: Jacob Woods | Dec 14, 2010 10:54:20 PM

  21. This is upsetting. Obviously, it's unfortunate that Dan is going through this in the public eye. Still, I think this may be a major setback in both the gay rights movement and the efforts to repeal DADT. Dan was someone that helped redefine the queeny, effeminate, weak stereotype of gay men. His hospitalization for mental illness will undoubtedly be seen as a weakness in the eyes of anti-gay groups, and this might just make them think they have an even stronger argument as to why gays are unfit for the military. Of course, mental illness isn't permanent. It has nothing to do with Dan's sexuality, makes him no less of a "man" or strong military leader. I just hope everyone can see it this way.

    Posted by: Cole | Dec 14, 2010 10:54:52 PM

  22. Like most people, I deeply admire Lt. Choi. I can easily believe he's exhausted from the struggle he has courageously waged and I wish him a gentle path back to health and peace. And I am certain that this crisis will pass. May he find all the love and all the healing he requires.

    Posted by: yonkersconquers | Dec 14, 2010 10:57:19 PM

  23. Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression his entire life. Today that would probably disqualify him from being president.

    Posted by: candide | Dec 14, 2010 11:10:33 PM

  24. Say what you like, Dan has worked tirelessly to try and accomplish what he thinks-- and many agree with him-- is right.

    If you have well wishes that you would like to go directly, feel free to visit my post about Dan (a friend of mine) and leave a comment. I will put them together and send them on to him.


    Posted by: Ian Awesome | Dec 14, 2010 11:13:12 PM

  25. Hang in there, Dan!

    Posted by: MikeInSanJose | Dec 14, 2010 11:15:57 PM

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