Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Those who Fought and Died: Leonard Matlovich

In 1975, eighteen years before Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Sgt. Leonard Matlovich appeared on the cover of Time Magazine with the headline, "I Am a Homosexual". Although there had been other challenges to the military ban on gays and lesbians serving, Sgt. Matlovich was the first to draw national attention. 

Time followed the story of Matlovich's legal challenge to the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the armed forces. Matlovich lost, but the case did prompt a change in the classification of discharges under the policy from dishonorable to honorable discharge.
Matlovich was an early AIDS activist and died of complications on June 22, 1988. The marker at his grave site says, "When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."
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