Veteran of Iraq war who fought ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy will speak at Chapman


Lt. Dan Choi, who battled the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, will speak on campus Saturday, Sept. 29.

The Iraq war veteran who led the successful fight against the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will be the keynote speaker at Chapman University’s
Emerging Scholars Conference
at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Memorial Hall.

The keynote by
Lt. Dan Choi
will be the final event of the two-day conference, titled “Stand Against Bullying,” which brings together educators, lawmakers and community leaders to explore the issues of contemporary bullying aimed at marginalized groups and intensified by social media. Choi’s talk, along with a screening of the film
at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Folino Theater, are free community events open to the public.

On March 19, 2009, Lt. Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on
The Rachel Maddow Show
. Because of three words – “I am gay” – his life changed forever. Despite his value as an Arabic speaker, one month after his announcement Choi was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him. He was one of only eight soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.

A year later Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence with a fellow gay veteran. After a series of protests, arrests and imprisonments, Choi attended the bill signing that finally repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Since then, Choi has become an outspoken activist for gay civil rights. He has served as Grand Marshal of the San Francisco, New York City, Miami and Wichita LGBT Pride Parades, appeared frequently on national and international news programs, and serves on the boards of Marriage Equality USA and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Scout Leaders Course, Air Assault School, Parachutist School and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University.

Choi has announced that his talk at Chapman will be dedicated to the late Katherine Darmer, who was a professor at Chapman University’s School of Law and founding board member and Chair of the Legal Team of the
Orange County Equality Coalition

For information and registration details about attending the entire conference, which will include a variety of speakers, panels and a keynote by U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez ’82, please visit the
Emerging Scholars

The screening
will be followed by discussion with the filmmaker, Jeff Phillips, adjunct faculty member at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and actors from the movie. Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Reservations may be made

Dawn Bonker

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