I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a fan of Dan Choi’s. He strikes me as one of the most genuine new advocates we’ve met this year, especially since he’s still waiting to be fired by the Army.
We’ve had two recent chances to get to know Lt. Choi better. The first is from a fantastic site I’d never seen before called The Moth. They released the audio of Lt. Choi telling his coming out story on their podcast. It’s about 13 minutes long, and every one of them is worth it. (You should also subscribe to the podcast. Lots of great stories there.)
On when he knew he was gay:
It was like fourth grade or so. Of course, growing up in a Southern Baptist home we were always taught no sex before marriage, don’t make a girl pregnant â€” and I was like, well, that’s going to be easy for me. But my upbringing made it very difficult to come to terms with it. I would pray about it at these revival services. I would just be crying and praying, ”Jesus, just make me sexually attracted to Lucy Liu, make me pop a boner for Michelle Pfeiffer, in Jesus’ name, amen!” That’s how ridiculous it was, that those were the things I was praying about. But that’s how fervently I believed that it was changeable.
On his relationship with his father, a Southern Baptist preacher:
Although he was very irrational about [my coming out], four days ago we talked and he said, ”I love you, and I accept you as my gay son.” With all of what’s been going on in the past nine months, I never would have expected that in nine years — maybe even a couple decades. It was so amazing on the eve of this whole D.C. thing, that gave me so much comfort and healing. I almost didn’t know how to deal with it emotionally.
On being a gay Christian:
There have been a lot of people were a little bit taken aback; not only, ”How is this possible?” but almost like, ”How dare you?” A lot of people are so injured, so hurt by the religious establishment that they just go to atheism. They find their ethics and their values in different ways, because they see the damage that some people cause [using religion] as a weapon to strip away the rights of those people. Forgive me if I use it in a military context, but just because the weapon is used against you doesn’t mean the weapon is not viable for you to use â€” it’s something that’s important, it’s something that we can be empowered by.
On the importance of coming out:
You come out because there’s somebody else who needs you to come out, and it’s your responsibility to do that. Because there’s some kid who may be told by someone you know, ”Don’t worry, I have a gay friend.” You could be saving somebody’s life, right there in your own home, in your own community, in your own backyard. That’s why it’s important, not for our own individual rights or for our taxpayer equity or our return on investment or our victimhood. Those are all important, but the most important thing has to be that we have a responsibility for all those other people. And we can’t be afraid, we can’t shy away from making that our message.