The gay infantry officer and Arabic linguist who came out on Rachel Maddow and was discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, was the guest of honor at a recent dinner hosted by the Atlantic magazine in honor of its Brave Thinkers issue.
Not surprisingly, Lt. Choi had a lot to say. Much of it he offered up in a forceful oratorical style that one imagines he picked up from his father, a Baptist minister, and which had one guest comparing him to Maya Angelou (they didn’t mean it in a good way, which sort of indicates the kind of cynicism floating around media circles these days). But Choi deployed a rather sharp sense of humor as well, especially when he namechecked Grindr and Manhunt.com. The part when he described looking at a picture of Michelle Pfieffer and praying to God to give him a boner? The Observer’s videocamera cut out at that very moment, alas (our notebook, however, worked like a charm).
We’ve got the rest of the highlights, alternatively fiery, inspirational and disarmingly funny.
Lt. Choi began with some choice words for President Obama…
He advised the crowd to “fuck the vote”:
He quoted a great prophet (debatable) to make the point that advocates of justice aren’t responsible or the controversies that arise due to their efforts:
He spoke in detail about life at Westpoint, including his attempt to hide his sexuality by joining the choir (!) and the racism he experienced:
He described the gay panic that can set in among CNN viewers who experience a “little flicker” while watching Anderson Cooper:
He spoke about finding true love…in a bathhouse.
He joked about trolling for hookups on Grindr and Manhunt:
And finally, he gave a demonstration of his Arabic language skills that would make Juan Williams pee his pants: