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Published on Jun 22, 2010
"The epitaph he chose to mark his grave is still as fresh as today's headlines: 'When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one'." -- The Associated Press.
It has been an unfathomable thirty-five years since TSGT Leonard Matlovich, the first service member to out himself to fight the military's ban, walked out of the Langley Air Force Base hearing where his discharge had just been announced and held a Kennedy Bicentennial half dollar up to waiting mesmerized reporters. Ironically, it was engraved with an image of Philadelphia's Independence Hall where his mentor gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny had first led a gay rights demonstration a decade before. Leonard told them:
"It says '200 Years of Freedom'. Maybe not in my lifetime but we are going to win in the end."