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.


  1. Mark says

    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.

  2. Craig says

    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.

  3. GMB says

    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.

  4. ichabod says

    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.

  5. Terrance says

    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.

  6. says

    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!


  7. How Dare He says

    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.

  8. says

    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.

  9. Steven says

    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.

  10. Amber says

    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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. Cole says

    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.

  13. yonkersconquers says

    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.

  14. candide says

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

  15. Morriganscrow says

    What an amazing human being!
    Dan Choi is a remarkable man, and has achieved so much, in spite of the obstacles arrayed against him. With the treatment he’s received, is it any wonder he’s had a breakdown?
    I have no doubt he will make a full recovery, supported by his loved ones, and I send him my best wishes.

  16. tacotaco says

    groan. this guy loves attention. we don’t expect very many people who are overwhelmed by their jobs to tell us when they’ve had a breakdown. i know that officially we’re supposed to laud dan choi for chaining himself to the white house gate every few weeks and being an activist (i don’t know what he does beyond the chaining himself to a fence, issuing press releases and basically pulling stunts). i am not a veteran, but i kind of resent this guy making his the face of the anti-DADT movement within the gay community and centering it on his dramatics. i hope he gets better though (i just don’t want to hear all about it)

  17. Russell says

    that was uncalled for and mean spirited. I can only write for myself but I only want to give Pam Spaulding a big hug, assuming she is physically up for it.
    I feel the same about Lt.Choi. I had this sense from the recent Rolling Stone article that he was alone, adrift and about to crash. There is this pernicious cloud in America that we all have to be superhuman. (that everyone is supposed to be there own support network that can coordinate health care and finances and living logistics).
    Dan deserves more than a hug. I wish I could do more to help him.

  18. JT says

    Oh, stop, Russell. Of course I agree with you in wishing Choi the best. Pam Spaulding is an awful person, though (but I’m glad she’s physically better).

  19. DCliving says

    Funny that this just came up, because I was watching him run on the treadmill at the WSC tonight. (Washington Sports Club)

  20. tc says

    Dan is the greatest and will always be a hero. I couldn’t have invented a better ambassador for LGBT people. Conscientious leadership is a heavy burden, so take care of yourself, Dan. I’m grateful to this guy forever.

  21. ratbastard says

    It would appear some form of mental illness is required to be a leader government, business, academia, the arts, etc., judged by the large number of those well known in their particular field were or are afflicted with mental illness. Look more closely at our historically great leaders both here in America and abroad and you’ll find a high level of mental illness of some type or another.

    Someone mentioned Lincoln. Lincoln is generally regarded as our greatest president, but he suffered from serious mental illness in the form of depression, and possibly more. And in his life time he was brutally ridiculed and mocked for his physical appearance, sound of his voice [which was high pitched], his background, etc.,

    Winston Churchill suffered from very serious depression throughout his life, had a bad speech impediment to overcome, was dyslexic and a poor student, and was a raging alcoholic.

    There are MANY more examples.

  22. ratbastard says

    And Choi is right; most institutions and organizations will use you and spit you out at their pleasure. Lobbyist, politicians, so-called professionals, are 99% of the time first and foremost in it for themselves. A big part of their job is using and manipulating people, then spitting them out when they lose their usefulness or they become a burden or embarrassment.

  23. Rowan says

    @ Ratabastard

    Oh come on. You Amercans and your drama. You can’t compare Choi with those people-what the hell?

    I agree with what the premise of your point is as someone who has a past time hobby in studying the difference between what makes a great leader and what doesn’t.

    It’s well renowned so a little shock t’is isn’t the first point being made but I guess very few people bother to learn about the people they idolise, though we always had to when compiling a thesis because you need to understand the source of a quote, comment or movement.

    Anyhow, he’s really got martyrdom syndrome, badly. I don’t think this is for gays etc at all but to prove something to his family who have disowned him because he is gay.

    And you only care about DADT because it affects you, not because of the plight for lgbt people.

    If you did, you would also talk about ENDA, gay bullying, gay homeless kids etc etc but all you and your well paid friends rant about is…..DADT.

  24. Brent Z says

    I am happy he is finally seeking treatment for his illness. He shuold have done this sooner. His often erratic behavior was a sign that something was not right.

  25. Danny says

    Wow. WHAT a man. It’s no damn wonder this has happened. War veteran betrayed by the military brass, by the political establishment and even by many members of his own community. In fact, I have a sense that his former military colleagues have been kinder to him than many gay people who have NOT served in the military but have found it necessary (and very easy) to criticize his activism from the safety of their computers. Add to this mix a dash of PTSD and marginalization by his family and it’s a wonder the dude can even stand up.

    By going public he proves that he’s more of a man than almost the entire congress and military leadership combined.

  26. Danny says

    @Mike: Too late: he has already proven himself fit to serve. The consensus is that he did so with distinction – and he has the decorations to prove it.

  27. ratbastard says


    …Bi*ch please, ‘You Americans’? You’re an ignorant clown.

    …MY POINT was mental illnesses and flawed behavior [sorry Rowan, behavioUr] is common and even afflicts otherwise successful and well-known people. Comprende Rowan? I WAS NOT directly comparing Choi to Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. That, OF COURSE, is goofy.

  28. ratbastard says

    …And I have no idea really how Choi is like as an individual. He may very well be an ahole. I am not trying to turn the dude into a saint.

  29. kodiak says

    He has taken a lot of slings and arrows for the rest of us, at war in the middle east, then back here at home. You don’t emerge from this unscathed. I hope he harnesses his anger and rage from this experience and learns how to function more at ease in the world.
    I would like to see him smile. It seems every picture I’ve seen he is frowning with a clenched jaw. This is my hope for him in the future.

  30. Sancho says

    I’m very said to read this, though I’m not surprised: in interviews recently he’s struck me as increasingly “tightly wound” and has said things that made me wonder about his emotional state, especially in the Voice “Bad Lieutenant” piece. It’s good that he’s seeking help.

  31. Minority says

    I know I’m in the minority, but I’m soooo tired of Dan Choi and his supposed activism…more like self-promotion. He could be doing good for the cause, but constantly trying to get arrested or make a scene isn’t necessarily the best way to do so. I for one hope this “mental illness,” which isn’t even a mental illness, means he’ll get out of the news for a bit.

  32. says

    And we still see more trolling from the anonymous armchair activists like Minority, tacotaco, and Aaron – as if any of you could hold a candle to Lt. Choi.

    Dan Choi is not perfect, but everyone makes missteps – especially when first coming out.

  33. says

    Long ago the Obambots devolved into ObamBATS, so it’s no surprise that they’ve swooped down on this story like the blood suckers that they are…or should I just say, Suckers for Our Fierce Avocado?

    As someone who’s been involved in the issue of the military ban longer than most of them have been alive, and having been fortunate enough to personally know many of the Greats in our Movement—all Human—I can say with confidence that Dan is one of them, and without his many acts of courage, sacrifice, and inspiration since outing himself in March of last year, the fight against the ban [regardless of how it turns out in the next several days] might have never gotten this far, might have gone the way the fight for ENDA did: nowhere. Many others have contributed, but Dan singlehandedly kept the cause alive without any formal organizational platform or support and while suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous lies, vilification, and concerted attempts to marginalize him. He is today’s Leonard Matlovich, whom writer Malcom Boyd called “the Charles Lindbergh of the gay movement” [and was also demonized at times by the jealous]. I am honored to be Dan’s friend, and will be by his side when he returns to the field….while they will continue to suffer from their Stockholm and Beaten Wife syndromes.

    When his critics have anything like the credentials of those below, get back to me.

    “Dan Choi is a hero.” – Cong. Patrick Murphy.

    “I firmly believe Lt. Choi to be a hero. He took on the U.S. Government and endured incredible pressures that few are willing to take on in an effort to make our military stronger. He sacrificed his career doing it. We owe him gratitude not only for his service to our nation, but his selfless sacrifice for our community.” – Keith Meinhold who outed himself in 1992 to fight the pre-DADT ban. His discharge was reversed by the courts, after which he served four years as an out gay man in the Navy before retiring honorably.

    “Dan: Your courage in the fight to repeal DADT is an inspiration to all gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women who don the uniform in defense of our nation. I know you will not let your discharge discourage you; your public voice on this issue has done much to attract the attention of our country and shine a very bright light on the onerous and discriminatory law that is DADT. Please continue to speak out forcefully; our fight is not over yet, as you know only too well.” – email from gay former Rear Admiral Alan Steinman who, after twenty-five years of service, became one of the most respected leaders in the fight to end the ban.

  34. Rowan says


    Waaaaaaaaahmbulance. Jeez, I actually agreed with your assessment on mental illness and genius.

    Still I’m not sure he was a great leader or putting everyones lives before his.

    Now, if a mother of a DADT soldier was doing this or just some kid, that would be looking outside of your own needs, therefore the box but this guy was all about ME.

    I hope now the lgbt movement can concentrate on ENDA and other important stuff to be more strategically across the board.

  35. MammaBear says

    Choi has lost his way.

    It’s great that he’s getting help, but this communication says a lot about the seriously unhealthy place that he is, and the damage that’s been done. Anybody that read his feed over the past couple of months would have concluded that he was seriously unbalanced.

    Good luck to him.

  36. jamal49 says

    Lt. Choi, you’ve put up a good fight for gay and lesbian patriots and for America. Now, it’s time to take care of yourself. You’ve got lots of admirers who care about you. I thank you for your efforts. Now, be safe and love yourself back to good health. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  37. ophu says

    @ tacotaco:

    Dan Choi has been in a searing public spotlight for the past two years. That is not his JOB. That is something he took it upon himself to do, for all of us.

  38. tacotaco says

    i think a lot activists would be quite offended that their activism doesn’t meet the standards of a job (but i’m not in the business of being offended, so i won’t be offended for anyone else).

    in any case, i feel for the guy. after being a leader in the military in dangerous situations, he shouldn’t have been punished for his good work under heinous, discriminatory system. he should be allowed to go back into the military.

    however, as other people have written in this thread, his behavior has been erratic. he did take this upon himself, so while i’m sympathetic to the pressure of being in the public spotlight, this guy has shown a very clear desire, through his actions (even this announcement!) to be in the spotlight, and i’m not going to applaud everything he does.

    maybe it’s “trolling” for me to not think he’s been nothing but great. i understand that people see other people differently, and i understand why people might not like criticism of someone who has been so unjustly treated in the past. but i do think that he has behaved in a way that has made not only his unfair treatment but also his tendency to act in a not-so-stable manner the face of the anti-DADT movement.

    i actually don’t see much reference to him outside of gay media, so his actions might just be known to us, so maybe it’s not worth arguing about how it appears. i still wish him a healthy recovery :)

  39. Minority says

    Standing up for a cause is one thing, and I do commend him for his service to the nation, but he’s soooo over-dramatic. His speech at the National Equality March, where I first met or even heard of him, was a prime example. He enjoys the spotlight, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but to pass it off as selflessness? I don’t buy it. He enjoys the spotlight. This reminds me of Mariah a few years ago :) And as for keeping anonymity, it’s simply because I may be a public figure myself!

  40. ACe says

    Dan, you are in our thoughts. You are a very brave and courageous young man – I’m sure the pressures on you must be ENORMOUS. Take care my friend and get well.

  41. Jim says

    God speed Dan- best wishes on a speedy recovery. Thanks for the tireless work you have done on behalf of all gay and lesbian Americans (as well as straight ones).
    We are better off through your sacrifice!
    Thank you

  42. says

    “…And I have no idea really how Choi is like as an individual. He may very well be an ahole. I am not trying to turn the dude into a saint.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 15, 2010 9:15:34 AM

    Dan is not an “ahole”. He’s not a Saint either. No one is. He’s a cool guy who is a lot braver man than I.

  43. JIM says

    Take care of yourself Dan. Don’t let the homophobes at the VA give you a hard time. All Va people are not that way, but there are some. I found out the hard way. Now, I just don’t figure any of them need to know I’m gay.
    Remember YOU are the Vet.You deserve everything they provide. USE IT!!

  44. gorde michaels says

    It cannot be easy for anyone in this crazy war. I had a lover from vietnam and he suffered alot from his experiences,unfortunately i lost him, and to this day have never gotten over it. I may be an older gay man,but for the youth today there is so much distraction,WAR DOES NOT HELP MAKE IT ANY BETTER.Dan I wish you well my son,you can over come this, it takes time but I know you will get better. Love to you from Canada