Ed Team

Quote of the day

Filed By Ed Team | February 15, 2007 6:08 AM | comments

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"When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one." -- Epitaph of Leonard P. Matlovich, the first person to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians in the U.S. military


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Choked Me Up | February 15, 2007 6:43 AM

Poignant.

And frightening at the same time.

Allen J. Lopp | February 15, 2007 10:43 PM

As a personal friend of Leonard Matlovich, or "Matt" as all of us called him, thank you for keeping this quote in circulation.

Matt came as a speaker to Indiana University during a gay/lesbian conference we were hosting in the mid-1970's. In the aftermath of that event, one of my best friends, Mike Bedwell, was a (platonic) roommate with Matt in San Francisco for many years, and he and Matt were close friends for the rest of Matt's life.

I second my friend Allen's appreciation. Mat [just for the record, he preferred one "t" :-)] was one of the few outstanding heroes our movement has had [and I would say that even had we not become friends]. That is not to belittle the contributions of hundreds and hundreds of people, probably thousands around the world, who have "worked in the trenches." I say it because so many who achieve a mainstream identity [not only was he on the cover of "Time," but the front page of "The New York Times" and on every major TV interview show from Phil Donahue to "Nightline" to "Larry King Live"] understandably get burned out fairly quickly and drop out to one degree or another. Mat never did that, despite being, as so many "gay celebrities" are, used and then kicked to the curb by national gay organizations who, for the most part, only exploit the gay celebrity flavor of the month to attract donations to perpetuate their own existence.

At the same time, despite his sacrifices and contributions, there was a period of time in which Mat was vilified by some in the community who disagreed with him about various positions, publicly comparing him to Third Reich Nazi leaders and threatening him on the street. That softened quite a bit after he went public with his AIDS diagnosis, and added that issue to his arsenal of passions. He single-handedly got Northwest Airlines to change their policy of refusing to sell tickets to people with AIDS. He was arrested at demonstrations against the Reagan Administration's criminal neglect of people with AIDS at the Federal Building in San Francisco and in front of the White House. Less than two months before he died, his emaciated body exhibiting KS lesions, he stood in pouring rain under the umbrella of a kind soul at a gay rights demonstration in Sacramento, and said that our message to the world must be, "To love, love, love!" Allen was there at the beginning of my friendship with Mat, and I am thankful for them both.

Michael Bedwell
Former President, BG[L]A