America: April 2010

2006-2010  Gay Military Signal

GayMilitarySignal@yahoo.com

LT Dan Choi

I never felt freer than
being in that prison

A year after he came out publicly on the Rachel Maddow program, LT Dan Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence, in uniform, on March 18, 2010, to protest the continuing delay in repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell so that he and the rest of us may serve openly.  After what must have been frantic phone calls between local, federal, and military authorities, the US Park Police quietly, calmly, and properly arrested him and Captain Jim Pietrangelo for civil disobedience (failure to obey a lawful order to disburse).  In court the next day, he refused to agree to pay a fine and call it a day as most protestors do to make a point and move on.

A lot of people are confused and don't understand what he is thinking in putting himself at risk like that; he could go to prison.  But, it is in his nature and his patriotism to be willing to sacrifice for the good of his country and his fellow Americans. While most young Americans with ambition went to college and moved into safe careers, Dan went to West Point and served in Iraq willingly risking his life.  Looking at his actions from that perspective, for a person who volunteered to risk being blown up, blinded, or maimed for life in mortal combat, what he did in front of the safe and peaceful White House was hardly dangerous.  He's a patriot who has already demonstrated that he does not fear for his life and personal freedom when he believes the cause is just.  What could be more just than believing in American equality?

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Profiles in Patriotism

Michelle Moore

Doing What I was
Trained To Do

I was 19 years old and I knew I was a lesbian when I joined the Air Force. I (thought) I was completely prepared to go back into the closet and possibly be alone for the next six years, but I joined because I wanted to be a linguist. Upon arrival at DLI, the very first person I befriended was in training to be a Spanish linguist. She was also a Lesbian. I met more gay and lesbian people while I was in service than any other environment to include high school and college.

I abandoned the idea that I would have to be alone or keep who I was a secret before language class ever even started. I came out to my class of 10 people a couple of days into class and got mixed reactions. Some were surprised and asked questions out of curiosity. Some told me that they already knew. None of my peers EVER treated me negatively because I was gay. At the very most, a few individuals felt conflicted because of their religious views, but for the most part we joked about it or it was a non issue. I did not tell my teachers, but I’m fairly certain some of them were well aware. I graduated from my Persian-Farsi beginner’s course in September of 2004. I was the only student in my class to graduate with honors. Throughout my career my scores on the DLPT, a test that ascertains ones current proficiency in his/her target language, never fell below passing. In fact, I all but one time got the maximum scores possible.

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A Rainbow Moment Photo
From time to time a rainbow arises
upon the convergence of heroes

Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Stuart O'Brien, leading advocate for gay service members' rights in the
Australian Defence Force, recently visited the gravesite
of American gay civil rights pioneer Leonard Matlovich.

Congressional Cemetery
Washington, D.C.
March 20, 2010

photo by Michael Bedwell
www.leonardmatlovich.com

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