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October 24, 2010

Mario Tama: Dan Choi

With DADT still ambiguous at best, there’s more in play here than just a pleased Dan Choi after he, to his surprise, was able to re-enlist.  As if presaging the end of an inhumane policy, it seems like Uncle Sam, himself, bucks the policy by affirming his interest in Dan. Even better, though, is the electronic statement above, the “earn respect” message playing two ways. On one level, it’s a green light to gay and lesbian recruits to buck the policy and sign up as a self-respecting act.  At the same time, directed toward the broader culture, there’s a moral call that the time has come to “do the right thing.”

Gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist Dan Choi stands outside the Times Square Armed Forces Recruiting Center after he reenlisted in the U.S. Army, on October 20, 2010 in New York City. Today the Obama administration petitioned a federal appeals court to suspend a court ruling that overturned the military’s gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

–Michael Shaw

PHOTOGRAPH by MARIO TAMA / Getty Images

About the Photographer

Mario Tama

Mario Tama has covered global events including September 11, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the funeral of Pope John Paul II and Hurricane Katrina - before, during and after the storm. His work on Baghdad’s orphans was exhibited at Visa Pour L’Image in France and his photographs from Hurricane Katrina were featured in National Geographic, Newsweek and newspapers worldwide. In 2008 he was nominated for an Emmy for his documentary work on Coney Island and won Cliff Edom's New America Award for his work in New Orleans. He has received numerous other honors from institutions including the White House News Photographers Association, UNICEF Photo of the Year, Pictures of the Year International, Care International Award for Humanitarian Reportage, China International Press Photo Contest, and Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards. He studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and freelanced in Washington, DC for the Washington Post and Agence France-Presse before joining Getty Images. Mario is based in New York City. See more of Mario's work for BagNews here.

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