Dan Choi accuses gay rights groups of ‘betrayal’
Lt Dan Choi has spoken about why he chained himself to the White House fence last week to protest over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The out gay soldier said he was “tired of talking” and accused gay equality groups of ‘betraying’ gay people.
Lt Choi came out last year and while he recently rejoined his unit, he can be discharged at any time.
On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to failure to obey a police officer’s order against his lawyer’s advice. He will stand trial later this month.
In an interview with Newsweek, he attacked the “betrayal” of gay rights groups, saying the movement appeared to be centred around elitism.
He was arrested, along with Captain Jim Pietrangelo, after hijacking a Human Rights Campaign rally, which was hosted by comedian Kathy Griffin.
Lt Choi told the publication: “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.”
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He added: “When I get messages from people who want to be a part of this I ask back: what are you willing to sacrifice? We are tired of being stereotyped as privileged, bourgeois elites.
“Is someone willing to give up their career, their relationships with powerful people, their Rolodex, or their parents’ love to stand up for who they are? I’m giving up my military rank, my unit – which to me is a family – my veterans’ benefits, my health care, so what are you willing to sacrifice?”
When questioned why he was staging stunts such as the White House protest now, he said: “Why now? Because you get tired of talking. I’ve done 50 live interviews, a hundred other interviews, how much more talk am I expected to produce?”
Lt Choi reportedly asked Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese and Ms Griffin to accompany him to the White House but neither did. He said: “I feel so betrayed by them.”
He added: “When I heard Kathy Griffin was going to be a spokeswoman for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I wondered about that. I have great respect for her as an advocate.
“But if [the Human Rights Campaign] thinks that having a rally at Freedom Plaza with a comedienne is the right approach, I have to wonder. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not a joking matter to me.”