Lt. Dan Choi

West Point Graduate and Iraqi War Veteran Dan Choi Comes Out as Gay on Rachel Maddow Show

Dan Choi is a 2003 graduate of the US Military Academy. He is a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Choi serves in the Army National Guard as an infantry platoon leader, a job that allows him to lead soldiers on the ground level and fully utilize his combat training and experience. While at West Point, he majored in Arabic Language and Environmental Engineering and volunteered as a leader in the Cadet Chapel Choir and the Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Choi is pursing graduate studies at Harvard University and resides in Orange County, California. He is FOUNDER, ORGANIZER of the Knights Out and their Communications Director.

Knights out is an advocacy and education organization that strives for the best possible leadership of all soldiers, regardless of their sexual orientation. Our members include alumni of United States Military Academy at West Point - some members are OUT as LGBT and some identify as "Graduate Supporters" - but all are committed to our mission.

1st Lt. Dan Choi is an Arabic linguist and an Iraq war veteran. He also happens to be gay.“I knew since fourth grade,” Choi said “But I was always taught that it was a choice.” Choi chose to ignore his sexual identity and focus instead on academics. He buried his secret.“I was so scared,” he said, of his secret being discovered because it would result in automatic expulsion. Choi graduated and found a partner.

At work, Choi listened to his peers talk about their weekend activities, their wives or female love interests. He remained silent, continuously skirting the details of his life. When he deployed to Iraq, Choi and his boyfriend faced unique obstacles. His partner couldn’t reach out to support groups or receive unit information. Communication between the two men had to be guarded. He fulfilled his commitment and ultimately left the service, unable to abide by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy any longer. He joined the New York National Guard and now serves as an openly gay infantry leader.