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Guide to the Leonard Matlovich Papers, 1961-1988 (Bulk 1975-1988)
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Collection Overview
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This collection consists of correspondence, subject files, legal documents, photographs and personal mementos. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence. The first series, for example, is correspondence from 1975 which he received after his story hit the national media. He arranged this incoming mail by the state or country of origin. His replies are filed with the letter to which he was responding.
Leonard Matlovich was a decorated member of the United States Air Force. During his three tours of duty in Vietnam, he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Like his father, he was a career military man and was considered an outstanding technical sergeant when, on March 8, 1975, he wrote a letter to his commanding officer at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, in which acknowledged his homosexuality but requested that he be allowed to remain in the Air Force. The Air Force responded by expelling Matlovich with a general discharge. He took the Air Force to court to contest this decision and in November 1980, U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gessell in Washington, D.C. ordered the Air Force to reinstate Matlovich with back pay and the rank and salary that he would have obtained if he had not been discharged.
Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.
Collection is open for research.