Lowell Kane, program coordinator of the campus GLBT Resource Center, said each year they try to find a widely known keynote speaker to focus on a serious issue or hot topic.
“I can’t think of any hotter topic than the DADT [“Don’t ask, don’t tell”] policy,” Kane said. “We want to seek out the face, the person who really represents this conversation and there is no bigger, more famous activist today than Lt. Dan Choi.”
Choi graduated from West Point Military Academy as one of eight soldiers in his graduating class majoring in Arabic. He then served as an Arab linguist in the Iraq War.
On March 19, 2009 Choi announced he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show, and discharge proceedings began within the month.
In his presentation, Choi will tell his personal story, discuss the effect of the policy on GLBT individuals in the military and answer questions from the audience.
“He has gone on the record saying he is willing to lose everything, the career he has built for himself, because he is not going to lie about who he is and everything he learned at West Point and through the military tells him he shouldn’t lie about who he is,” Kane said. “Given Texas A&M’s military history and our current status with the Corps, it’s a really interesting conversation to have here.”
Interestingly, the story about Choi’s visit isn’t the only gay-related item on the front page of today’s Battalion. A centerpiece under the headline “Broken Traditions” focuses on how LGBT students in “Closet Station” face discrimination and feel left out of Aggie rites like Midnight Yell. In hindsight, perhaps they could have combined the two articles under one headline: “Don’t ask, don’t yell.”