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Memorial Day: Remembering Sergeant Leonard Matlovich America's First Openly Gay Soldier

Memorial Day: Remembering Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich America’s First Openly Gay Soldier

In 1973 Technical Sargent Leonard Matlovich read an interview in the Air Force Times with gay activist Frank Kameny who had counseled several gays in the military over the years. He called Kameny in Washington DC and learned that Kameny had long been looking for a gay service member with a perfect record to create a test case to challenge the military’s ban on gay men. About a year later, he called Kameny again, telling him that he might be the person. After several months of discussion with Kameny and ACLU attorney David Addlestone during which they formulated a plan, he hand-delivered a letter to his Langley AFB commanding officer on March 6, 1975. When his commander asked, “What does this mean?” Matlovich replied, “It means Brown versus the Board of Education” because for Matlovich, his test of the military’s ban on homosexuals would be equivalent to that case.

At that time, the Air Force had a unique exception clause that technically could allow gays to continue to serve under undefined circumstances. (Remember this was LONG before DADT a time where if someone whispered you were gay you’d be discharged without any defense) An Air Force attorney asked  Maltovich if he would sign a document pledging to “never practice homosexuality again” in exchange for being allowed to stay in the Air Force. Matlovich refused.  Despite the fact that Maltovich had an unblemished military record, tours of duty in Vietnam, was a recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, the military ruled Leonard Matlovich unfit to serve and he was recommended for a General, or Less than Honorable, discharge. The base commander recommended that it be upgraded to Honorable and the Secretary of the Air Force agreed, confirming Matlovich’s discharge in October 1975.

Maltovich sued for reinstatement, but the legal process was a long one, with the case moving back and forth between United States District and Circuit Courts. When, by September 1980, the Air Force had failed to provide US District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell an explanation of why Matlovich did not meet their criteria for exception [which by then had been eliminated but still could have applied to him], Gesell ordered him reinstated into the Air Force and promoted. The Air Force offered Matlovich a financial settlement instead, and convinced they would find some other reason to discharge him if he reentered the service, or the conservative US Supreme Court would rule against him should the Air Force appeal, Matlovich accepted. The figure, based on back pay, future pay, and pension was $160,000.

His case resulted in articles in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, numerous television interviews, and a television movie on NBC. He was repeatedly called upon by gay groups to help them with fund raising and advocating against anti-gay discrimination, helping lead campaigns against Anita Bryant’s effort in Miami, Florida, to overturn a gay nondiscrimination ordinance and John Briggs’ attempt to ban gay teachers in California and also later the fight for adequate HIV-AIDS education and treatment.

On June 22, 1988, less than a month before his 45th birthday, Matlovich died of complications from HIV/AIDS beneath a large photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.

The Chilling Statistics of AIDS Deaths in Gay Men Help Understand The Long-term Trauma They Endure Today

San Francisco to Host Largest Display Of The AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT In A Decade On 35th Anniversary

The National AIDS Memorial will mark the 35th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt with an historic outdoor display in Golden Gate Park that will feature nearly 3,000 hand-stitched panels of the Quilt.

The display will take place on June 11 & 12 from 10 am – 5 pm each day in Robin Williams Meadow and in the National AIDS Memorial Grove. 

“This year’s historic community display will be a beautiful celebration of life and a recognition of the power of the Quilt today as a teaching tool for health and social justice. The Quilt is an important reminder that the HIV/AIDS crisis is still not over and there is much work to be done, particularly in communities of color, where HIV is on the rise in many parts of the country.” 

The two-day 35th Anniversary event, presented by Gilead Sciences, will feature 350 12’x12’ blocks of the Quilt laid out on the ground, each consisting of eight 3’x 6’ individually sewn panels that honor and remember the names and stories of loved ones lost to AIDS.  Visitors will be able to walk through the display to experience each panel, remember the names, and see first-hand the stories sewn into each of them.

It’s both a beautiful and painful exhibit, especially for those who lived through those dark days.

If you have never seen it. Please go and pay your respects

9/11 in Memoriam: Remembering Our Fallen LGBT Brothers and Sisters

Remembering and Honoring The LGBT Heroes and Victims of 9/11

Please everyone take a minute to read this list and reflect and remember our fallen LGBT brothers and sisters listed here and for all the victims of that fateful day

The Fallen

Father Mychal Judge:  The first recorded victim of the September the 11th terrorist attacks was openly gay Father Mychal Judge, a Roman Catholic priest and chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who died ministering at Ground Zero even though he was under no obligation to be there. He gave his life to comfort others in his hour of need.

Renee Barrett,  passed away on October 18 from injuries she received during the attacks on September 11th. A member of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York,  She is survived by her partner Enez Cooper and her 18-year-old son, Eddie. Barrett

Graham Berkeley, a native of England who lived in Boston, boarded United Airlines Flight 175 on Sept. 11. His plane was the second to crash into the World Trade Center.

Mark Bingham , an openly gay man on United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania. He assisted in defending the aircraft against the attackers and is considered one of the many heros of that day.

Pamela Boyce, was at work on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower when it was struck. She is survived by Catherine Anello her partner.

David Charlebois, a member of the National Gay Pilots Association, was the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, the plane that crashed into the pentagon.

Eugene Clark, worked on the 102nd floor of the south World Trade Center tower. He sent his partner Larry Courtney a voice message stating “I’m OK. The plane hit the other tower. And we’re evacuating.” Clark is still missing and presumed dead.

Jeffrey Collman,  flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower. He is survived by Keith Bradkowski, his partner of 11 years

Luke Dudek, worked for Windows on the World as the food and beverage controller. He is survived by is partner of 20 years, George Cuellar.

James Joe Ferguson, Director of geography education outreach at the National Geographic Society. He was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77.

Carol Flyzik, passenger on American Airlines Flight 11, which was the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center towers. She is survived by her partner of 13 years, Nancy Walsh.

Ronald Gamboa and Dan Brandhorst were traveling with their 3-year-old adopted son, David were on their way home to Los Angeles from Boston on United Airlines Flight 175 which crashed into the second tower of the World Trade Center.

Sheila Hein worked at the Pentagon in the U.S. Army management and budget office when her life was taken by American Airlines Flight 77. She is survived by her partner Peggy Neff.

William Anthony Karnes,  who lived within sight of the World Trade Center lost his life the morning of September 11th. He is survived by his partner John Winter

John Keohane, worked at One Liberty Plaza near the World Trade Center. Keohane died by falling debris. Before his death, Kepohane met his partner Mike Lyons on the street. Lyons later committed suicide on his 41st birthday

Michael Lepore, was a project analyst at Marsh & McLennon. He is survived by his partner of 18 years, David O’Leary

Patricia McAneney was the fire marshal of her floor in the first World Trade Center tower. She is survived by Margaret Cruz, partner of 18 years

Wesley Mercer, worked as a Vice-President of Corporate Security at the World Trade Center. After successfully guiding 3,700 employees to safety he himself fell victim to the tragedy.

“Roxy Eddie” Ognibene worked on the 89th floor of the second World Trade Center tower. He was a member of the Renegades of New York’s Big Apple Softball League

Seamus O’Neal lost his life in the attacks on the World Trade Center. He is survived by his partner Tom Miller.

Catherine Smith, 44, worked on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center tower. She is survived by Elba Cedeno, her partner of six years

Waleska Martinez, a computer whiz in the Census Bureau’s New York office, was aboard flight 93 that crashed outside Shanksville, PA.

Andrew LaCorte.  worked in One WTC and was killed instantly when the first plane hit. At the time he had no partner but is remembered and missed by his many friends and family.

Gay and Lesbian Police and Firefighters

*Francis S. Coppola, a New York City detective whose partner, a firefighter named Eddie, died in the attacks, summed up the bipolar feelings many GLBT people have had about Sept. 11th:

I have never been more proud of being an American or a New Yorker, but at the same time it has made me sad. The greatest country in the world, and yet we are treated like second-class citizens…. The great love of my life died doing what he did best and what he loved to do: helping others. I have never been an activist or ever wanted to be one; however, it is time we stand up and be counted and demand equality — nothing more or nothing less.

* Tom Ryan, one of just three out-of-the-closet firefighters in New York, [says] he “learned that about 25 closeted gay firefighters died on Sept. 11,” and he knows “others who survived but are still afraid to come out.”

*As the days went by, we learned that some of the missing rescue personnel were gay, and that many of their lovers, some of whom are cops and fire fighters, were grieving in silence for fear of outing them. There were also gay cops that lost family members that were rescue personnel. We all learned too quickly and in too cruel a way that the closet is a terrible place to grieve… — Edgar Rodriguez, NYPD (in the former Lesbian & Gay New York)

NOTE: This list of LGBT lives lost on 9/11 is by no means complete. Unfortunately there is actually no way to know the exact number of LGBT victims. If there are those missing that you would like to remember please feel free to add them to the comment section and I’ll update the list accordingly.

June 12, 2017: One Year Later Orlando and the LGBT Community Remembers The PULSE Massacre Victims

Today, June 12th, marks the  anniversary of the terror attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub,. It had been a year since the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history stole 49 lives there and scarred countless others.  For 12 years, the club grew into an integral space for the gay community, one shattered within a matter of minutes by a terrorist with a gun.

At 2:02 a.m., this morning at they exact the time on June 12th, 2016 when the attack began, the names of those killed in the shooting were read aloud, with the family members of some victims on hand to say their names, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The nightclub also held a private ceremony for family members while mourners – including dozens of people dressed as “angels” – stood outside.  By the end of the night, more than 1,000 people had gathered to remember what happened last June, when Orlando became the first U.S. city of the summer — before Falcon Heights, Minn., and Baton Rouge and Dallas — to be upended by gun violence.

An event called Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels is also set for the Lake Eola Park Amphitheater at 7 p.m. and will feature musical performances and remarks by community leaders.

Please take a moment to remember the victims and morn the loos of our brothers and sisters.

EDWARD SOTOMAYOR JR.
STANLEY ALMODOVAR III
LUIS OMAR OCASIO-CAPO
JUAN RAMON GUERRERO
LUIS S. VIELMA
ERIC IVAN ORTIZ-RIVERA
PETER O. GONZALEZ-CRUZ
KIMBERLY MORRIS
EDDIE JAMOLDROY JUSTICE
DARRYL ROMAN BURT II
DEONKA DEIDRA DRAYTON
ALEJANDRO BARRIOS MARTINEZ
ANTHONY LUIS LAUREANO DISLA
JEAN CARLOS MENDEZ PEREZ
FRANKY JIMMY DEJESUS VELAZQUEZ
AMANDA ALVEAR
MARTIN BENITEZ TORRES
LUIS DANIEL WILSON-LEON
MERCEDEZ MARISOL FLORES
XAVIER EMMANUEL SERRANO ROSADO
ENRIQUE RIOS
GILBERTO RAMON SILVA MENENDEZ
SIMON ADRIAN CARRILLO FERNANDEZ
OSCAR A ARACENA-MONTERO
MIGUEL ANGEL HONORATO
JAVIER JORGE-REYES
JONATHAN A. CAMUY VEGA
JOEL RAYON PANIAGUA
JASON BENJAMIN JOSAPHAT
CORY JAMES CONNELL
JUAN P. RIVERA VELAZQUEZ
LUIS DANIEL CONDE
SHANE EVAN TOMLINSON
JUAN CHEVEZ-MARTINEZ
JERALD ARTHUR WRIGHT
LEROY VALENTIN FERNANDEZ
TEVIN EUGENE CROSBY
JEAN C. NIEVES RODRIGUEZ
RODOLFO AYALA-AYALA
BRENDA LEE MARQUEZ MCCOOL
YILMARY RODRIGUEZ SOLIVAN
CHRISTOPHER ANDREW LEINONEN
ANGEL L. CANDELARIO-PADRO
FRANK HERNANDEZ
PAUL TERRELL HENRY
ANTONIO DAVON BROWN
CHRISTOPHER JOSEPH SANFELIZ
AKYRA MONET MURRAY
GERALDO A. ORTIZ-JIMENEZ
 

 

Memorial Day – May 29, 2017: Remembering Our Fallen LGBT Military and Community Heroes

On this day, across America we remember our countries fallen military service people.

Since the Revolutionary War in America LGBT servicemen and women served our country bravely and in silence not only risking the loss of their lives but also careers, friends and family if their sexuality were found out.

Leonard Matlovich,  Harvey Milk,, Christine JorgensenGore Vidal, Jim Foster,  and Stephen Donaldson are just a few among the countless others served our country and should be recognized and remembered.

So as a community let us give a special thanks and remembrance our gay and lesbians brothers and sisters who fought side by side in silence and  fought for this country while having to hide who they truly were.

May we always remember their courage, their bravery and their selflessness for fighting for the freedom of  a country that would not acknowledge them or grant them their rights.

They are true LGBT American Heroes and on this day we should remember and thank them all.

 

NYC LGBT March Against Hate Crimes Set For Monday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m – Pass It On!

Responding to horriffic murder of Marc Carson, the 32-year-old gay man from Brooklyn who was shot and killed Friday night night in Greenwich Village  NYC’s LGBT Community will hold a march on Monday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m to the site of Carson’s murder to demand an end to hate crimes against the LGBT community which have drastically increased in the past month.

Monday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m. beginning at the Center, 208 W 13th Street, and proceeding to West 8th Street and 6th Avenue. Following a string of heinous bias attacks against gay men, including the murder of a 32 year old man on Friday night, community members, elected officials, LGBT community leaders and allies will march to the site of Friday’s shooting to demand an end to hate crimes against the LGBT community. At the end of the march, we will rally to denounce hate violence, call for justice and to mourn the death of Marc Carson. Please join the Center, the NYC Anti-Violence Project, Speaker Quinn, community leaders and elected officials to reclaim our city for all New Yorkers.

 

memorial candel

Munich, Germany To Build Memorial For Gay Holocaust Victims

 Thomas Niederbühl, an openly gay Councillor for the Rosa List Party, in Munich, Germany has been working on a plan to build a monument to the memory of gay amd lesbian Holocaust victims since 2008.  And now thnaks to him, Munich was the site of the beginning of the Nazis terrible persecutions against homosexuals in 1934 will have a highly symbolic memorial to homosexual victims of Nazism.

The memorial will form part of a new pedestrian development in the center of Munich and will be placed at the corner of Oberanger and Dultstrasse, outside what was the Scwharzfischer (The black fisherman), a famous gay bar in the 30s. On October 20th 1934, the Nazis conducted a major raid in the gay scene of Munich, including the Schwarzfischer. This was the beginning of Nazi persecution against homosexuals: it is estimated that more than fifty thousand people were eventually arrested and most were interned in concentration camps. Most of those who survived the war were kept in jails as homosexuality remained criminalized.

The sinister Paragraph 175 which criminalized homosexuality was in effect until 1969. In 1985, gays and lesbians had wanted to place a plaque in the camp at Dachau, but it was not until 10 years later, in 1995, that gays and lesbians have been recognized as a group of victims.

The project has broad political support: from both parties currently in power but (The Red and Green parties) but of course Christian Democrats oppose it. . Richard Quaas, spokesman for the Christian Democrats said: “Until now, there was a consensus not to establish differentiation of victims on monuments or monuments. Other groups of victims of Nazism have no specific memorial in the public arena in Munich.”

Source

Video – HATER SHOWDOWN: The KKK Protests The Westboro Baptist Church At Arlington National Cemetary

In somthing that could ONLY happen in America, on a day when we honor our soilders both gay and staright two of the most vile HATE groups in America, the Ku Klux Klan and The Westboro baptist Church faced off yesterday in protest  at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“That’s fine,” said Abigail Phelps, the daughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. “They have no moral authority on anything.

“People like them say it’s white power … white supremacy,” Phelps said. “The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that it’s an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race.”

LaBonte (Grand Master of the KKK) insisted he is not a racist nor a “hate-monger,” but said he believes the white race is “slowly and most assuredly being denigrated.”

Members of the group declined to say whether they were armed.

Unfortunately by the end of the day there were no casualties on either side and they both walked away to hate another day.