The Bear Catches Up with Lt. Daniel Choi
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you had a safe and great week. It has been another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.
A couple of years ago, Dab the AIDS Bear and I met Lt. Daniel Choi while speaking at an event. For those of you who do not know who Lt. Choi is, he is the service member who contested Don't Ask Don't Tell and then chained himself to the gate of the White House and was arrested. That arrest led to the issue making major national and international news.
So what has Lt. Choi been up to since our last meeting? That is the subject of my blog today which will be in Daniel's own words:
It's been about two years since my last re-cap. My bad. I guess it's been a pretty wild journey so far.
And yes, there'll be plenty more troublemaking in 2012.
March 2010. Working hard to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," we got fed up with political excuses. Captain Jim Pietrangelo and I marched to the White House and chained ourselves to the fence. Spent a night in jail. To the judge: "NOT GUILTY. NOT ASHAMED. NOT FINISHED."
April 2010. We were still fed up. This time, they kicked the media out of the park! Six of us spent a night in jail. Judge to us: "Stay away from the White House!"
May 2010. Helped 6 of my friends go to jail for justice. I obeyed the judge,and stayed on the other side of Pennsylvania Ave.
June 2010. Went on a 7-day Hunger Strike with Jim. We were angry about discrimination in the military. More angry about political compromises. Grand Marshal of NYC Pride March with Constance McMillen and Judy Shepard. Delivered a sermon in Mexico. I was still really hungry.
Harry Reid West Point Ring
July 2010. Trial. Charges dropped! ... So ... standing on the White House platform is free speech? Pretty Awesome. Then, got fired from the army. Pretty NOT awesome. Getting arrested on the Las Vegas Strip for my Transgender siblings: Pretty Awesome. Spending the night in Las Vegas jail: Pretty NOT awesome.
Gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid my West Point ring. "Keep it till you repeal DADT! ... I'm gonna hold you accountable!"
November 2010. Final DADT White House arrest. They were pissed. They charged us Federally. WTF. United States of America v. Daniel Choi, still ongoing in federal court. WTFx2. Nervous breakdown, part 1. Stress catches up eventually.
December 2010. DADT REPEALED! I got my ring back. Awwwww.
February 2011. I turned 30 years old. Sigh.
May 2011. Arrested in Red Square, Moscow. Neo-Nazis. Ouch.
June 2011. Grand Marshal of Wichita Kansas Pride. Yes, Toto. There's gays in Kansas!
August 2011. Arrested at White House protesting a disgusting tarsands pipe. 3 nights in jail. Wow, we really pissed 'em off this time. Trial on January 24. FIGHT THE POWER!
Gay Pride Amsterdam. Rode with over 80 active duty LGBT troops, on a boat!
August 29-31, 2011. Trial resumes for our DADT protest. Why don't they drop the charges? Trial paused for "mid-trial appeal" and "mandamus." Next stop, US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit. I'm my own lawyer (pro se). Full US v Choi Archive here. Stay Tuned!
September 2010. DADT REPEALED! (Part 2!) Second reenlistment attempt. Wait Choi, you're still being federally prosecuted? #FAIL. And, they're still demanding my "DADT Discharge Debt."
December 2011. Outside of the PFC Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing, I greeted SSG Nathan Leo, a dog handler. I was handcuffed, tackled, assaulted and ejected for being "disruptive." Wow.
So, the struggle continues. This journey started because I fell in love. I never imagined I'd one day be called an "activist" for simply telling the truth about love. Now I'm proud of the title.
Matthew and I have since gone our separate ways, but I'm so grateful to him for the love we shared and what he sparked. Life is sometimes tough, but after all I've been through, I still say: love is worth fighting for.
My love goes to all of you who stayed with me in the fight. We have plenty more battles ahead.
So now you are up to date with what Lt. Choi has been up to and we want to thank him for standing up to make a difference.
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,