!! OMG, My Hero: Lt. Dan Choi !!

You might have noticed last week that I didn’t write about Lt. Dan Choi, the gay military officer who chained himself to the White House in protest of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the whole thing. While I certainly hate both Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the HRC, there’s something about chaining yourself to a monument that seems a little unnecessarily self-aggrandizing to me. But Choi’s latest interview in Newsweek is pure gold. I completely love this man! Who cares if he’s self-aggrandizing? He might be Gay Jesus!
Says Choi:

Within the gay community so many leaders want acceptance from polite society. I think there’s been a betrayal of what is down inside of us in order to achieve what looks popular, what look enviable. The movement seems to be centered around how to become an elite. There is a deep schism [in the gay-rights movement], everyone knows this. But this shouldn’t be about which group has better branding. There is a tremor right now in every gay and transgender youth that these groups are not grasping. I would say to them–you do not represent us if all you are looking for is a ladder in to elite society…

They say freedom is not free, but it doesn’t have to cost anything either. Jesus up on the cross did not have a party with all his major donors to raise money for his cause, his cross was free. Ghandi did not need three-course dinners and a cocktail party to get his message out. These are people who sacrificed their lives. For them it was hemlock, a cross, the bullet that shot Harvey Milk … it was not the size of their distribution list, but their message that endured…

[Newsweek via Queerty]

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2 Comments on "OMG, My Hero: Lt. Dan Choi"

  1. I agree with Will. In any given social movement, you will have numerous strategies. During the suffragist movement, there were many activists who, like Choi, made public protests while there were other activists who, like the HRC, curried support at clubs and galas.
    (Also, not that it makes a huge difference, but it’s Gandhi–you can usually expect the “h” to come after the “d,” like in “Buddha”)

  2. I really think this issue is one of the most interesting surrounding gay rights. I think that Lt. Choi may be mistaking a difference in strategy for a difference in core beliefs. While heroes like Ghandi, Milk, and Jesus were able to personify the ideals they strove for, we shouldn’t discount those who were able to move us in very small ways towards these same ideals.
    I think that EDNA is the perfect example of this. HRC, as I understand it, wanted to include the provisions which would have protected Transgendered individuals, but when it became clear that such a provision would not pass and would in fact kill the whole bill they jumped ship. I’m not sure I’m comfortable saying that what they did was wrong. We know that progress takes time, and we know that evolution happens way more often that revolution. Do we vilify those who are going to approach change piecemeal, just because they are willing to compromise?
    I think both sides in this debate need to at least realize what the other is doing. Lets not forget, we have a lot of enemies out there who prejudge us. Lets not start doing it to ourselves.

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