In September 1975, Time magazine featured decorated Vietnam veteran Leonard Matlovich on the cover. His name was clearly visible on his Air Force uniform, and the headline read: "I Am a Homosexual."
Matlovich — who had come out in a letter to his commanding officer before the cover ran — was challenging the military ban on gay service members.
"I don't know a lot of people that called him Leonard," Jeff Dupre, a long-time friend of Matlovich, recounts during a visit to StoryCorps. "Everyone called him Matt. I met him at a Thanksgiving dinner. We were sitting in the living room and we were watching [the] Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day."
Matlovich was quiet that day, prompting someone to ask him what he was up to.
"And that's when Matt opened up," Dupre says. "He said, 'Well you know they're looking for a candidate to challenge the gays in the military laws. Someone who has a good record to make it legal to be in the service and be open. I've got these awards from the service, I think I can do it.' "