Dan Choi Re-Enlists in the Army as Openly Gay Soldier

In reaction to a federal court decision that struck down the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, or DADT, policy — at least temporarily – Pentagon officials have instructed military recruiters to begin enlisting openly gay and lesbian people in the armed services.

Hours after this announcement, former Liuetenant Dan Choi — the West Point graduate who was discharged from active duty after he came out as gay on the Rachel Maddow Show in 2009 — announced via his Twitter feed his intention to re-enlist, this time in the Marines and as an openly gay man.

One of fifty-nine Arabic translators to be discharged under DADT since 2004, Choi has become one of the most recognizable and vocal opponents of the government policy. In March, Choi and Jim Pietrangelo, another officer discharged for publicly acknowledging his homosexuality, chained themselves to the White House fence in protest of DADT and were subsequently arrested. Following his official discharge in June 2010, Choi wrote an open letter to President Obama and the United States Congress calling DADT “a slap in the face” to gay service members wanting to defend their country. 

Choi arrived at the New York City Times Square military recruitment station a little before 4pm on Tuesday. Surrounded by supporters and reporters, the former officer knocked on the door for fourteen minutes before being allowed to enter.  An hour later, he tweeted:

In the recruiting station. Apparently I’m too old for the Marines! Just filled out the Army application.

At 6:45 pm, Choi emerged from the recruiting statement and announced he had been allowed to re-enlist in the Army, pending routine medical tests and paperwork. He called the event “absolutely exciting, absolutely vindicating” and encouraged other gay former service members to come back to the military.

However, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a non-organization that provides legal services to individuals impacted by DADT, urged continued caution. SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, “The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law is rooted in any statement of homosexuality made at anytime and to anyone. A higher court is likely to issue a hold on the injunction by Judge Phillips very soon. The bottom line: if you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon.”

Per the Pentagon’s instructions, Choi was advised that the current injunction barring the enforcement of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” could be rescinded at any time and the policy could once again be enforced.

We will update you as more information becomes available.


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Pam Spaulding.


Annmari Lundin
Annmari L6 years ago

Brian M.: You are so correct!

Rose M.
Rose Matovich7 years ago

Dan you did more to damage yourself and others by pouting about and blaming President Obama for the DADT.I know many people either did not vote or voted Republican because of your unbalanced stand.Now that the act has been repealed will you campaign as actively for President Obama as you did against him.You rightly demanded justice for yourself and other servicemen.Demand some truth and justice for the President.

lyn L.
l L7 years ago

Happy now Dan? good.

Trish H.
Anne H7 years ago

I find it ironic that the military is phobic of gays. To be honest I think it is the government, probably specific politicians. Other countries seem to have adapted, why can't we?

The military can't be too critical of a gay lifestyle when they promote "a girl in every port", "R&R visits" and strip clubs, oh my. Editing the married guys out of photos and extra tests to assure we weren't bringing any "gifts" home to spouses...no room to judge at all. To this day we all pay for the illigitimate children of these solidiers. If they don't bend the rules a bit in this area all their ugly little secrets will start to surface.

Catherine A.
Cat A7 years ago


ruth a.
ruth a7 years ago

His skills are needed. they would be stupid not to take him and keep him this time.

monica r.
monica r7 years ago

Here's the thing. This was his career he chose to pursue, and for a reason completely unrelated to his ability to succeed at that career, it was taken away from him.

There is nothing wrong with trying to reclaim it. If pointing out the injustice is "political", so what? This man has the courage to be a trailblazer, and to stand up for his convictions. I could not be prouder than to have someone like that defending our freedoms and our nation.

The fact that he is in a minority that doesn't fully get to share in those freedoms makes this all the more powerful of a statement. Good for him, I wish him all the best.

Silvia G.
Silvia G7 years ago

He is very brave, in all senses. I wish him good luck.

Tom Y.
Tom Y7 years ago

This is a politically motivated statement, more than a service to his country. As such, it risks being offensive. A soldier in uniform needs to remember it's not about him!

Cheyenne Ziermann

Go Dan!