Former Army National Guard Lieutenant Dan Choi, a highly visible activist in the effort to overturn the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, has been involuntarily committed to a Brockton, Massachusetts, Veterans Administration hospital.
According to a message Choi sent to veteran gay journalist Rex Wockner and blogger Pam Spaulding, he was confined to the psychiatric ward at the hospital on December 10 “after experiencing a breakdown and anxiety attack.”
Choi explained that his decision to go public with his condition was based on his view that “it is critical for our community to know several things: veterans gay or straight carry human burdens.”
Choi went on to say, “Activists share similar burdens, no activist should be portrayed as super human, and the failures of government and national lobbying carry consequences far beyond the careers and reputations of corporate leaders, elected officials, high powered lobbyists, or political elites. They ruin lives.”
The hospitalization came one day after the US Senate, for the second time, failed to open debate on the annual Pentagon appropriations bill, which contains language already approved by the House spelling out a road map to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.
“My breakdown was a result of a cumulative array of stressors but there is no doubt that the composite betrayals felt on Thursday, by elected leaders and gay organizations as well as many who have exploited my name for their marketing purposes, have added to the result,” Choi wrote. “I am certain my experience is not an isolated incident within the gay veteran community.”
He explained that his ability to communicate with the outside world is limited to times when he uses his “strongarming to smuggle [my iPhone] into my room.”