Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy “is a hate crime”

U.S. Army officer, West Point graduate and Arabic linguist Lieutenant Dan Choi came out publicly as gay, and he has been a strong advocate for repealing the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.  His courage to confront this issue is noteworthy.

Choi makes a very compelling case for compassion and justice for our military personnel. In a recent interview, Choi said, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a hate crime.” And I agree with him.

In the article, Choi was quoted as saying, “With all the issues that wartime soldiers must deal with—post-traumatic stress, survivor guilt, depression…A [homosexual] soldier struggling with those sorts of issues, on top of all the other stressors of war, cannot confide in a chaplain, or a mental health professional because of the fear of getting kicked out of the military. You talk about hate crimes… The suffering that those soldiers must endure, in addition to everything else, that is a hate crime.”

When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, he  said that repealing the DADT policy “would be the right thing to do.”

On March 16, General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, testified before the Senate committee and said “the time has come to consider a change” to the DADT  policy that prevents openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

It’s 2010, and I’m hoping that we’ll see this hateful policy repealed by the end of the year.  If this can be accomplished on behalf of our military personnel, maybe the closeted queer members of Congress and state legislatures would be able to be open about their sexual orientation.

Then perhaps they would  stop supporting anti-gay legislation that feeds homophobia and ultimately helps perpetuate hate crimes.

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