Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Obama responds to lesbian soldier's letter
News Update for the online edition of Windy City Times May 6, 2009

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

2nd Lt. Sandy Tsao photo by Donna

President Barack Obama sent a hand-written note in response to a Chicago-area lesbian's plea for him to change the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. She sent her letter to Obama just six days after his inauguration, and it was published in the Feb. 11 Windy City Times as a cover story.

Tsao said she is "very hopeful" after receiving the letter May 5. "I believe he is a man of his word. … My heart is bounding with joy." The timing is bittersweet: Tsao's last day in the service will be May 19, 2009.

Obama's note reads: "Thanks for your wonderful and thoughtful letter. It is because of outstanding Americans like you that I committed to changing our current policy. Although it will take some time to complete ( partly because it needs Congressional action ) I intend to fulfill my commitment!" It is signed Barack Obama. Windy City Times has contacted the White House but has not had word back confirming the letter's veracity.

The Rachel Maddow Show picked up the story May 7, as did other media and blogs the next day. Tsao, however, told WCT she does not want to do additional media, because she wants to focus on studying for her engineering degree. She did also share the letter with GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

In her Jan. 26 letter to President Barack Obama, 2nd Lt. Sandy Tsao, 24, came out as a lesbian in the U.S. Army. The former resident of Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood wrote a fellow former South Sider in his new White House home to tell him she could no longer serve her country because she is a lesbian.

Sunday, Feb. 8, marked the one-year anniversary of Tsao's active duty, full-time service to her country. On May 19, Tsao expects to receive an Article 15 honorable discharge because of homosexual conduct.

Tsao was told by her chain of command that her letter was received by Obama's White House. It was her own choice to come out. In early February, she wrote to Windy City Times that she had "finished my full medical examination and have finished my last session with my counselor. My counselor has signed an evaluation form that confirms that I am in a healthy mental state."

"Originally I planned to leave quietly and reenlist in the Marines if the policy changed, but I was getting so lonely and tired of people cracking gay jokes and not being able to talk to my friend because of the policy," Tsao wrote. "I was getting so fed up that I finally decided to tell the truth." Tsao plans to return to finish an engineering degree.

Tsao's original letter to President Obama reads:

"I am a Second Lieutenant currently serving in the United States Army. In addition to being an officer, I am a Christian, a woman and a Chinese-American. I am proud of all these identities. Lastly, I am also a homosexual. On December 21, 2007, I was appointed as an army officer. In the oath of office I swore that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Unfortunately, I will not be able to fulfill this oath because the current policy regarding sexual orientation contradicts my values as a moral human being.

"Today is Chinese New Year day. I hope it will bring good fortune to you and your newly elected office. Today is also the day I inform my chain of command of who I am. One of the 7 army values is integrity. It means choosing to do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be. As a Christian, this also means living an honest life. I cannot live up to this value unless my workplace 'provides an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior'. [ Excerpt from the U.S. Army's Equal Opportunity Branch ( EO ) Mission Statement. ]

"We have the best military in the world and I would like to continue to be part of it. My mother can tell you it is my dream to serve our country. I have fought and overcome many barriers to arrive at the point I am at today. This is the only battle I fear I may lose. Even if it is too late for me, I do hope, Mr. President, that you will help us to win the war against prejudice so that future generations will continue to work together and fight for our freedoms regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

"Respectfully, Sandy Tsao, 2LT, MP."

Tsao grew up on Chicago's Southwest Side, in Bridgeport. She graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and received her bachelor's in communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007.

Tsao's parents are both Chinese. Her mother is from Hong Kong and her father is from Burma ( Myanmar ) . Tsao is a first-generation American. Her father's younger brother served in the Army as an enlisted solder. If the ban were to be lifted, Tsao told WCT in February that she would like to have a career in the military.

"The President has given us hope for change," she said May 6. "Now it is up to us, our loved ones, families and friends to have faith in his word and the love of humanity as we hold hands and pray together for a new world."

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


LGBT veterans of AVER honor military service on Veterans' Day 2015-11-17
Briefs: Navy murder facts revealed; SPARTA honored; Utah judge recuses himself 2015-11-17
Activist reveals information relating to sailor Allen Schindler's murder 2015-11-11
National roundup: Kameny honored; military rape; anti-gay attacks 2015-11-10
Veterans call for benefits to LGBT soldiers with "Other Than Honorable" discharges 2015-11-09
PASSAGES Jon Phillips dies 2015-10-29
Fourth 'Do Ask, Do Tell' looks at health disparities 2015-10-12
Huckabee attacks nomination of Eric Fanning for Sec. of the Army 2015-09-21
Openly gay Eric Fanning to be nominated Secretary of the Army 2015-09-18
Chelsea Manning denied recommended treatment for gender dysphoria 2015-09-18
Military trans ban could end next May 2015-09-02
Report: Military's transgender ban could end by May 2016 2015-08-26
Chelsea Manning found guilty of breaking prison rules 2015-08-18
New England Journal of Medicine: Health costs minimal for trans military 2015-08-12
LGBT veterans and allies celebrate reenlistment, monument 2015-08-10
Upcoming: Event for veterans' supporters on Aug. 9 2015-08-05
Reception to thank supporters of monument to LGBT veterans, Aug. 9 2015-07-29
Nat'l: Pastors attend wedding; pro-LGB military act; 'Black Lives' conference 2015-07-28
PASSAGES Tania Nichole Dunbar, a founding member of SPARTA, dies 2015-07-22
Pentagon to lift transgender military ban 2015-07-13
Navy, Marines make pro-trans move 2015-07-08
City of Chicago Salute LGBT veterans held at Daley Plaza 2015-07-02
Marine to be denied marriage license in San Saba County Texas 2015-06-30
VA extends benefits to same-sex couples following supreme court ruling 2015-06-29
Legislation to lift transgender military ban to be introduced 2015-06-23
Sec Def announces protections for gay, lesbian troops, no mention of trans 2015-06-09
AMA on transgender military service: No valid reason to block 2015-06-08
Air Force takes step towards open transgender service 2015-06-05
National: Kameny's honor; Pentagon move; more presidential candidates 2015-06-02
Pentagon to add non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian troops 2015-05-29
First federally approved LGBT Veterans Monument unveiled 2015-05-27
U.S. Senators call for military updates 2015-05-27
National: Jindal's move; Texan Rep. supports marriage; senators urge DoD Sec'y 2015-05-26
LGBT Veterans Monument dedicated 2015-05-25
LGBT veterans remember murdered gay sailor 2015-05-24
LGBT veterans, Lakeside Pride Freedom Marching Band join Memorial Day Parade 2015-05-23
Senators ask DoD for equal opportunity policies for LGB servicemembers 2015-05-21
Monument to honor LGBT veterans in national cemetery in Illinois 2015-05-19
Great Lakes command reduces religious services, stokes outrage 2015-05-15
LGBT veterans to be honored with monument in national cemetery 2015-05-13

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.