North Texas Daily

LGBT rights and veterans’ health activist to visit UNT

LGBT rights and veterans’ health activist to visit UNT

LGBT rights and veterans’ health activist to visit UNT
February 05
01:50 2014

Steven James // Staff Writer

Dan Choi, former US Army Lt. and LGBT rights and veterans’ health activist, will visit UNT to discuss the current state of LGBT rights in the military at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Gateway Center Ballroom.

As part of UNT’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Choi will talk about veterans’ health policies and his personal experience being a gay man in the military. The West Point graduate served in Iraq from 2006-2007 as an Arabic translator, announced that he was gay on a 2009 episode of “The Rachel Maddow Show” and received his discharge policy one month later.

As a result, Choi worked to get the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy repealed – which happened in 2010. He now travels the world and is Grand Marshal of several LGBT Pride parades, including ones in San Francisco and Miami, and has demonstrated at the White House.

Student affairs administration assistant director Blake Rexroat said that he and his colleagues are excited to have Choi as a guest speaker.

“His experiences with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are why we considered him for the Lecture Series in the first place,” Rexroat said.

He said that speakers are chosen by an annual student survey, and SGA then narrows those choices down.

“This has been in discussion for several years,” Rexroat said. “We are hoping to expose the campus and the surrounding communities to very significant people. We are very excited to have gotten Choi to come speak as part of the lecture series.”

Marketing senior John Wheeler said that he has heard of Choi and is looking forward to the lecture.

“I feel like everyone’s liberty should be kept sacred, even if it’s wanting to be gay,” Wheeler said. “To each their own, even if it upsets people.”

Biology senior Jacob Schumann said he is upset that the Army would try to discharge anyone because they are gay.

“Honestly, I that everyone is entitled to their own personal ideas and opinions,” Schumann said. “Whether you like men or women doesn’t matter.”

Schumann also said that being gay does not affect a person’s professional life.

“What is private should be kept private,” he said. “I don’t see how sexual preference affects your work performance.”

Rexroat said tickets can be purchased online at the Student Affairs website (http://studentaffairs.unt.edu/choi) or at the Information Desk found at the front of the Stovall Temporary Union Building.

Both UNT students and TWU students are allowed one free ticket each and DFW residents may purchase discounted tickets as well. TWU students must email blake.rexroat@unt.edu and include their name, classification and major in the email.

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