CAT | DADT
This past weekend, I traveled to Washington D.C. with a group of ten dynamic young people I work with to lobby our Congress to support comprehensive sex-ed. Together, they make up the Texas Youth Leadership Council. At our conference put on by Advocates for Youth, Lieutenant Dan Choi was the keynote speaker. He spoke about the necessity of demanding equal rights and the importance of identity. He reminded us that we all have to represent who we are, truthfully, to those around us if we want to create real change.
I had the privilege of meeting Lt. Dan Choi. He is truly an amazing person and his story is one worth telling. He is a graduate of West Point and is a veteran of the Iraqi War. He is also fluent in Arabic – a critical tool in achieving progress in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lt. Dan Choi is a valuable person to the public. His skill set and expertise is literally worth millions – however, he has been fired because of who he loves. It costs us $1.3 billion to conduct these ridiculous trials and remove gay and lesbian people from the military. It is not fiscally responsible by any sense of the term and it is entirely bigoted.
Lt. Dan Choi is gay and told other people in the Army that he was gay as well as the public on the Rachel Maddow Show. As a result, he was prosecuted under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy which prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. It serves no purpose other than discrimination and prejudice. This law creates two classes of people and it must go. It punishes free speech by limiting what gay and lesbian people may say about themselves, and as Lt. Dan Choi says, this policy is undermining unit cohesion. People can only trust each other when they are able to tell the truth to each other. Honesty is the foundation of trust and integrity – integral values of the military.
Our allies, Britain and Israel, allow straight, gay, bi and lesbian people to all serve openly in their armed forces and they have no problems. I am grateful that there are people like Dan Choi who are courageous and are speaking up about this issue and I am confident we will see the right course of action taken in the end. If someone is willing to give their life for their country, should their country not also be willing to allow them to serve with integrity, honesty and dignity?