Last night, 1LT Dan Choi announced a new event for October’s National Equality March. The official website has details about a memorial being held on October 10 for Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, the first servicemember to challenge the US military gay ban in 1975.
In 1975, before cell phones, iPods, the public Internet-and when Barack Obama was only 13-USAF TSgt Leonard Matlovich, winner of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, outed himself to his commander to become the first servicemember to challenge the military’s ban on gays. He soon became a leader in the fight for LGBT equality in every facet of life before succumbing to AIDS in 1988. His coffin was born through the streets of the nationâ€™s capital on a horse-drawn caisson, accompanied by an Air Force Honor Guard and mourners carrying both American and rainbow flags, to Congressional Cemetery where the year before heâ€™d dedicated a planned memorial to Navy veteran Harvey Milk. There, he was laid to rest beneath a tombstone heâ€™d designed as a memorial to all gay veterans, his epitaph resonating as powerfully today as then: â€œWhen I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.â€ Our memorial service, featuring recently discharged gay veterans and movement leaders, is meant both to honor him and reinvigorate the ongoing battle against military inequality thirty-four years after his historic and courageous sacrifice.
On Saturday, October 10, 2:00 pm there will be a Leonard Matlovich Memorial Services at Congressional Cemetery.
You can take the Metro to this event. METRO Stations: Blue or Orange line to Potomac Ave or Stadium-Armory.
Veterans and active duty are encouraged to attend in uniform.