One of the best things (and I’ll be honest, sometimes noit so best) about Netroots Nation and the LGBT Bloggers Initiative Pre Con was meeting and learning about other LGBT bloggers, advocates, and activist. I had the honor of having lunch next to the EXTREMELY hot and humpy Jarrod Chlapowski of Servicemens United and I watched in car crash amazement as Dan Choi theatrically ripped up an autograph and threw it as a kid who was with the Obama campaign (who i think might have been mildly special needs) when the kid said he didn’t agree with gay marriage even though he was Bi. (Very long story and by the way Dan. A major part of public speaking us trying NOT TO show that you have been coached in it because when it does it comes off more theatrical than sincere)
Now where DADT is concerned everyone knows Choi and many people know Jarrod but who knows Ian Finkenbinder or the other heroes of the DADT Repeal Movement?
I’ve tweet chatted with Ian who writes the “One Angry Queer“ website for months before we met at Netroots Nation 11 and I always knew that Ian was a major HIV advocate and angry at the trials, tribulations, and obstacles that HIV+ men and women in the LGBT community have to deal with it. What I didn’t know was that Ian is also one of the unsung hero’s of the fight for the DADT repeal.
Ian was an Army Arabic linguist who graduated from the Defense Language Institute in 2002 and was discharged from the military in 2005 after announcing to his superiors that he’s gay. Ian served eight months in Iraq and was about to return for a second tour when he let his sexuality be known and was discharged.
I looked at myself and said, ‘Are you willing to go to war with an institution that won’t recognize that you have the right to live as you want to? It just got to be tiresome to deal with that — to constantly have such a significant part of your life under scrutiny.” – Ian Finkenbinder – MSNBC 2005
Ian has been at the forefront of the movement of the DADT Repeal since its inception. He’s been featured on PBS’s Imdependent Lens – Unfriendly Fire, has held vigil at the graveside of vigil at the grave site of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich along with other DADT heros who have been overlooked including Miriam Ben-Shalom, Evelyn Thomas, Robert Smith, James Pietrangelo, and Mara Boyd. And was also arrested for handcuffing himself to the White House Fence, along with this group which forced the hand of the Obama administration to push Congress to get the DADT repeal through before the Republicans took over the House.
It’s a shame that Ian and other men and women actively involved don’t get the credit that they deserve.
Ian Finkenbinder, along with Miriam Ben-Shalom, Evelyn Thomas, Robert Smith, James Pietrangelo, Mara Boyd and others are the unsung heroes of DADT and should be recognized as such.
It’stime to give credit where credit is due because we all know it’s not all about Dan Choi you know, right?