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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell takes center stage at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Miami Recognition Dinner

(WASHINGTON) Oct. 13 — The effort to repeal the discriminatory military policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be at the forefront of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 13th annual Miami Recognition Dinner, Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), an outspoken advocate for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” will present the National Leadership Award to Lt. Dan Choi, an openly gay Army lieutenant discharged under this discriminatory policy who has become the national face of the repeal effort.

Earlier this year, Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq veteran fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on national television. Because of three words — “I am gay” — Choi’s life has changed significantly. Despite his skills and 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.

Hastings has been an outspoken critic of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and has forcefully called for its repeal numerous times.

“We are proud that Lt. Choi and Representative Hastings — two courageous and inspirational advocates for LGBT people — will be with us at the Miami Recognition Dinner,” says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “The presence of these two leaders in the effort to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ cast an even greater spotlight on the issue as Congress appears to be preparing to tackle this injustice. This categorical rejection of our country’s brave and trustworthy Americans and the continued squandering of their contributions must end.”

The Miami Recognition Dinner recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the social, cultural, political and humanitarian needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Launched in 1997, this major fundraising event quickly cemented its place as the premier event for uniting the community and honoring individuals and organizations for their achievements and efforts in fostering equal rights for LGBT people.. To date, the Miami Recognition Dinner and its sister event, Winter Party Festival, have raised over $2.1 million.