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Military board calls for gay soldier to be discharged

Jessica Geen July 1, 2009
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A Syrcause military board has said that Lieutenant Dan Choi, who came out on national television, should be discharged for breaking the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law.

This will make him the first member of the New York National Guard to be discharged under the policy, which prevents military recruiters from asking about sexual orientation but also bars servicemembers from revealing they are gay.

Choi’s representative Major Roy Diehl told AP that Choi could not be officially discharged until the move was approved by the First Army commander and the chief of the National Guard Bureau, something which could take up to a year. Until then, he will remain an active member of the New York National Guard.

During the four-hour hearing, Choi said he was being fired “for nothing more than telling the truth about who I am”.

He added: “I’m a leader. A setback is an opportunity to keep fighting, and I’m going to do that through my actions.”

Earlier this year, the 28-year-old infantry platoon leader defied the military gay ban by coming out live on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow TV show.

He is a co-founder of Knights Out, a support group comprising graduates from the US Military Academy of West Point.

The organisation’s mission is both to lobby for the rights of LGBT soldiers to openly serve their country, and to educate West Point’s future military leaders about the need to accept its lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans troops.

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