Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich (1943–1988) was a Vietnam War veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Matlovich was perhaps the best-known openly gay man in America in the 1970s. His fight to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out of the closet became a cause célèbre around which the gay community rallied. His outspoken manner resulted in articles in The New York Times and a television movie on NBC. His photograph appeared on the cover of the September 8, 1975 issue of Time magazine, making him a symbol for thousands of gay and lesbian service members.
Matlovich announced on Good Morning America in 1987 that he had contracted HIV. On June 22, 1988, just a month before his 45th birthday, Matlovich died of complications from HIV/AIDS.
Above is Matlovich's grave at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.
The tombstone reads:
A Gay Vietnam Veteran
When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one