No one should have to beg for a job they shouldn’t have lost in the first place

12 05 2009

During his election campaign, Obama said, “We’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need.  And then just last week, the US Army discharged National Guard Lieutenant Daniel Choi, an Arabic linguist who also served in Iraq, because he came out as a gay man.  Choi is fighting his dismissal and has written a letter to Congress and to Obama imploring them not to fire him:

As an infantry officer, I am not accustomed to begging. But I beg you today: Do not fire me. Do not fire me because my soldiers are more than a unit or a fighting force – we are a family and we support each other. We should not learn that honesty and courage leads to punishment and insult. Their professionalism should not be rewarded with losing their leader. I understand if you must fire me, but please do not discredit and insult my soldiers for their professionalism.

When I was commissioned I was told that I serve at the pleasure of the President. I hope I have not displeased anyone by my honesty. I love my job. I want to deploy and continue to serve with the unit I respect and admire. I want to continue to serve our country because of everything it stands for.

Please do not wait to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Please do not fire me.

This is a heartbreaking letter that really demonstrates the human consequences of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Imagine Choi’s position… He was and still is committed to his (former) job and wants to continue serving with his unit, which he calls “a family” that supports each other.  The only reason he was discharged is because he openly came out about being gay.  That is not sufficient grounds to fire a qualified, dedicated, good worker.

Meanwhile, back in January Army officer Sandy Tsao also came out to her superiors as a lesbian and wrote to Obama saying, “I do hope, Mr. President, that you will help us to win the war against prejudice.”  In May, she received a handwritten response from him:


Obama wrote, “I am committed to changing our current policy.  Although it will take some time to complete (partly because it is under Congressional action.)  I intend to fulfill my commitment!”  While I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Obama, the “it will take some time to complete” stuff is frustrating.  Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be a top priority that should be taken care of sooner rather than later.



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