The Service Women’s Action Network calls Dan Choi out for his misogyny

I am such a giant fan of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), even writing about one of their founder’s in my book. Maricela Guzman is such a massive inspiration:

Well, SWAN has just issued an open letter to Dan Choi–the darling of the anti-DADT movement and the mainstream media. In a recent interview in the Village Voice, Choi reffered to Harry Reid as a “pussy…[who] bleeds once a month.” Check out SWAN’s response:
Dear Dan,
The Service Women”s Action Network (SWAN) and the undersigned advocacy organizations were shocked and extremely disappointed by your comments about women in your recent interview in the Village Voice. You should know as we do that there is no room for misogyny, racism or other forms of hate speech among people who are working to end discrimination and bring about equality in the military, and throughout society.

Your comments about women are irresponsible, indefensible and inexcusable, and you should publicly acknowledge that fact.  As a human rights advocate, you should know that degrading one group of people to promote the rights of another disserves everyone.  Your sexist comments also undermine SWAN”s efforts to achieve our policy objectives, which include promoting equality for all servicemembers.

As an organization that advocates for equal opportunity for all servicemembers and veterans, SWAN is keenly aware that there is still a tremendous amount of misogyny both within the military and the LGBTQ community, and that misogynistic and homophobic language is rampant in the military.
Comments denigrating women”s bodies, or suggesting that simply being a woman is abhorrent, are unacceptable. Unfortunately, this type of language is all too familiar to women in the military.

As a direct result of misogynistic language, a hostile work environment for servicewomen–both heterosexual and lesbian–is allowed to thrive. Hate crimes, sexual harassment, lesbian-baiting, gay-bashing and sexual assault have flourished. Adopting and promulgating hate-filled speech against women only serves to increase the danger that servicewomen and LGBTQ servicemembers face on a daily basis.

We must hold you accountable for what you say as a spokesperson for equality. We encourage you to render a genuine apology, rather than a half-hearted, perfunctory tweet on Twitter. We also encourage you to discuss this issue with us further. It is part of our mission to educate the public about the serious challenges facing military women and women veterans, and we”d be more than happy to assist you in deepening your understanding of these issues.

Join the Conversation

  • nazza

    He seems much in line with people like Kos. What he says is inflammatory but certainly doesn’t advance the dialogue.

  • marc

    Thank heaven someone from the liberal community finally called Choi out for it. I’ve actually been really disappointd at feminist organizations for giving Choi a pass, especially with NOW who, hours after Choi posted that he apologized on his Twitter (preceeded by a Tweet moments before that claimed they can call him a misogynist, but he is still pro-choice and supportive of ERA, therefore is feminist), posted a piece talking called “the Education of Dan Choi,” despite Choi not having talked about what he’d learned or spent any time being reflective of the situation.

    Guys like Choi are, more or less, a disservice to the feminist/GLBT community. He is loud, brash and acts outside of the established orders we all follow – even as feminists, to get things done. Neither tying himself to the White House fence nor calling Harry Reid a “pussy” will advance LGBT rights – in fact, it deters progress.

    If anything, Dan Choi should know he lost his job probably not because he’s gay, but because he’s proven to be a bad leader (real military leaders, whether in or out of uniforms, do not act or talk like that), in both the military and the progressiv movement.

  • Kierstyn Hayducka

    I recently heard Dan Choi speak and he was great. He seems very much in tune with human rights. This was very derogatory though and I hope he apologizes. He really is a great person.

  • Jill Gaulding

    I’ve read responses to Dan Choi’s comments on other blogs admitting that “yeah, ‘bleeds once a month’ is clearly a gendered insult, but ‘pussy’? – nah…” This parsing of his comments drives me crazy. Why do so many people have trouble admitting that “pussy” (and “wuss,” for that matter) are gendered insults? Might it be because these insults are so ubiquitous that to admit their basis in misogyny is to admit just how misogynistic our society remains?