Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remembering Leonard Matlovich - 22 Years Later

Leonard Matlovich is a name a lot of younger LGBT people don't recognize today.  Sgt. Matlovich was an early advocate for LGBT rights and he was discharged after a stellar career in the Air Force for coming out.  His forthright announcement that he was gay, shocked a nation into realization that there were thousands of LGBT people serving in the military.

Yesterday, on the 22nd anniversary of his death, his friend and roommate Michael Bedwell released this YouTube video.  atch it and if you never knew who he was, remember his name.  Leonard was a brave pioneer in the fight for LGBT rights.

I had the pleasure and privileged of knowing Sgt. Matlovich.  He came to Dallas to help us promote the National March on Washington for Gay Rights in 1979.  I spent a couple of days with him shuttling him from press event to press event.  We finished with an appearance on the Charlie Rose Show.  Charlie was a local talk show host then and shortly afterward his career took off on the national stage. Leonard was an unassuming man, yet he was fierce in his activism and belief in equality.

Leonard, unfortunately, was an early victim of AIDS and though his life was cut short, his achievements and spirit continue to inspire me and many other LGBT people.

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