Institute for Museum and Library Sciences/UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project - LGBT Activism
Pacifica Radio Archives
"Technical Sgt. Leonard Matlovich interviewed by Ronald Gold on ""Gay Alternatives"". Matlovic formally declared his homosexuality to his commanding officer on March 7, 1975 with the intent to fight the customary discharge that usually attends such a declaration. In spite of an excellent military record, he was declared unfit to serve by a military panel and was handed a dishonorable discharge six months after his declaration. Time Magazine placed Matlovich on the cover of their Sept. 8, 1975 issue with the caption ""I Am a Homosexual"", marking the first time the gay rights movement earned the cover of a national newsweekly. In 1980 he finally won reinstatement, which he declined; the Air Force upgraded him to an honorable discharge. The show deals only briefly with Matlovic's lawsuit, focusing instead on his youth as a conservative, right-wing soldier and how the development of a ""gay consciousness"" changed his viewpoints about race, gender and country. Matlovich died of AIDS in 1988; on his tombstone is written: ""When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."""