Leonard P. Matlovich (1943-1988)
Vietnam War Veteran, Purple Heart & Bronze Star recipient
Civil Rights Activist
"Maybe not in my lifetime, but we are going to win in the end."
(Photo cred: Ted Sahl)
If you are LGBTQ in the military, thank US Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich for the gigantic 1st step.
In March 1975, Matlovich gave his commanding officers a letter outing himself as a homosexual.
Photo Cred: Leonard Matlovich Papers
He did this to challenge the military ban on gays. He didn't shy away from a battle - not in Vietnam where he earned the Purple Heart and not for equality. He graced the cover of Time Magazine in uniform. He became a symbol.
Photo Cred: Ted Thai
Matlovich would speak against the repeal of nondiscrimination laws and against the attempt to ban gay teachers in California.
Photo Cred: leonardmatlovich.com
In 1986, he was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. That didn't stop him from speaking up. He rallied and protested against the Reagan Administration and its abysmal response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In 1988, Leonard Matlovich died of complications from HIV/AIDS. By his own design, his tombstone does not bear his name. He is buried at the Washington DC Congressional Cemetery.
Photo Cred: leonardmatlovich.com
While we continue to celebrate PRIDE, do not forget those who set the milestones before us. Thank You Technical Sergeant Matlovich for your service.

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More from @MsWitsEnd

Jun 5, 2018
Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002)
Co-Founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)
Member of the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance

(Photo courtesy of Legacy Project) #LGBTVoices
Sylvia Rivera was an American gay & transgender activist. Of Puerto Rican & Venezuelan descent, she was born/raised in New York City. Homeless at 11, Sylvia earned her pedigree on NYC streets as a drag queen and sex worker.
Photo Credit: Kay Lahusen #LGBTVoices
She fought for Civil Rights, against Vietnam War and for Women's Rights. At Stonewall, she was one of our voices. Admittedly, I'd not heard of Sylvia when I drew her name for our #LGBTVoices project.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Justin Sutcliffe)
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