#QueerHeroes Day 25.
Choi studied at Westpoint and after getting degrees in Arabic and engineering, he toured in Iraq. After serving, he transferred to the New York National Guard. Choi fell in love in 2008 and then came out to his parents. They weren’t accepting. Now that the worst had happened, he found himself less afraid.
He started a group of gay West Point graduates called Knights Out of which he was the spokesperson, but he really began making waves during an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show, where he said:
“I am an infantry platoon leader in the New York Army National Guard, and by saying three words to you today—I am gay—those three words are a violation of Title X of the U.S. Code.”
He was right. With those three words, his military career was over. His discharge was finalized in 2010 and he went on to dedicate his life to queer activism, going on a seven day hunger strike and chaining himself to the White House fence three times. He was even arrested in Moscow for marching in a Pride parade banned by the city.
In 2010, a federal judge ordered the defense department to stop enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Choi immediately went to the army recruiting center in Times Square to re-enlist in the military.
When DADT was finally repealed later that year, he was by President Obama’s side to watch him sign the bill.