BREAKING NEWS: for all LGBT and allies:
NEW GAY SECRETARY of the Air Force under Obama.
'After the Friday, June 21, retirement of Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, ERIC FANNING became the Acting Secretary of the Air Force, making him the highest-ranking out LGBT person in the Department of Defense'
HERE is a 25th ANNIVERSARY commemoration of the life of the man who got him there.
From his dear friend Michael Bedwell, "ON THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH, I celebrate the life of Leonard Matlovich, TSgt., USAF; my hero, my friend, without whom open service might have taken even longer.
I can almost hear him now: “Michael! Can you believe it? An out gay man is now the Acting Secretary of the Air Force,” and see his smile as bright as the dawn of this new day. If only more knew upon whose shoulders they stand."
Please watch this great historical record.. for all our sakes. I do hope Eric Fanning gets a chance to see it too.
Below the squiggle .. I have posted some pictures and transcriptions of quotes from the video. They need to be remembered too. Read first, then watch, or vice versa. Either way I think they enhance the experience, and can help with sharing and remembering.
Leonard Matlovich upon coming out in 1975 'Brought homosexuality into the open in a manner not seen or heard before. (2:21) He said: 'Gay people, regardless what their walk of life, school teachers, whatever, are American citizens and they deserve the same rights as every other person in this country.
From a 1987 documentary "The Air Force put LM on trial 12 years ago… TIME put him on its cover (Sept 8, l975) Matlovich lost at Court Marshal and was thrown out of the Air Force
(2:54) But there are countless gays in military uniform, and it turned out clerical, police, football, baseball and every other uniform there is. Gay Sargent Matlovich, you see, taking the stand not so much in defense of his homosexuality but in explanation of it, brought a lot of guys out of the closet."
( 5:41) After being diagnosed with AIDS he co-founded 'NEVER FORGET' .. in the video he speaks at the Congressional Cemetery where Peter Doyle ..Walt Whitman's great love is buried. He speaks of visiting the graves of Alice B Toklas and Gertrude Stein in Paris, also. .. and as I came back to the US we have nothing similar, where a young person could say..There is Harvey Milk, who made my life so much better. We need the same in this country we need to NEVER FORGET who bravely came before."
( 8:17) In the pouring rain in May,1988 he spoke in Sacramento LGBT Rights Parade..Said.. "Look at our flag our RAINBOW flag, with pride in your hearts, because we too have a dream, but ours is more than an American dream it is a universal dream for the blacks and whites in South Africa, the Protestant and Catholic in Northern Ireland and the Jews and Muslims in Israel… to teach people to love and not to hate."
…he died six weeks later. (9:20) … His epitaph was already on his tombstone.
'When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men,…and a discharge for loving one.'
Leonard's mentor Frank Kameny walked his body to Congressional Cemetery accompanied by an Air Force Honor Guard and stream of red, white, blue and rainbow colors. ...and his grave has become a memorial shrine to others and is honored every Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
There are memorial plaques in San Francisco and in Chicago.
(13.50) In 1993 LT Tracy Thorne-Begland spoke against DADT to a congressional committee. He failed.
But He spoke again at the memorial for Leonard during the NATIONAL EQUALITY MARCH weekend ..Oct. 2009. Describing how in military training the Honors of a group are carried. as a pennant on a staff with streamers, at the front of every run and exercise and passed on from man to man, to woman during the exercise.
He reminded us that no one in the entire history of US Military had ever picked up the LGBT staff and pennant to carry it forward until Leonard Matlovich did in 1975… it had streamers representing hundreds of year of service by LGBT soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines…and he ran with it…Leonard lived a life of truth for all us… and when he could run no more he handed it off to others who carry it onward today."