Leonard Matlovich never lived to see the repeal of DADT and the victory today over bigotry and injustice. I salute all the other brave LGBT people who also missed out on this historic day.
Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich (July 7, 1943 – June 22, 1988) was a Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Matlovich was the first gay service member to fight the ban on gays in the military, and perhaps the best-known gay man in America in the 1970s next to Harvey Milk. His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause célèbre around which the gay community rallied. His case resulted in articles in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, numerous television interviews, and a television movie on NBC. His photograph appeared on the cover of the September 8, 1975, issue of Time magazine, making him a symbol for thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers and gay people generally. In October 2006, Matlovich was honored by LGBT History Month as a leader in the history of the LGBT community.