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Vol. 7, No.
: ■ October 1980
'‘domino of oppression'*
Five yea2:*s since openly declar
ing himself gay to the Air Force
and being discharged, Leonard
Matlovich was fully reinstated
and could receive more than fifty
thousand dollars in back pay.
Matlovich, 37. said, ”It’s
been a very, very hard battle."
On September 25, 1975. Matlovich
was given a general discharge from
the Air Force. He appealed and in
October after his appeal was
denied he decided to take his case
to the Federal courts.
In July 1976, Federal District
Court Judge Gerhard Gesell upheld
the right of the Air Force to
discharge Matlovich. Again, Matlo
In December 1978. the U.S,
Court of Appeals ruled unanimous
ly that Sgt. Matlovich was un
fairly discharged from the Air
The court criticized the mili
tary for failure to establish a
clear policy on discharging gays.
The next day the Pentagon began
major reviews of its policies
dealing with gay service men. A
joyous Matlovich said, "Another
domino of oppression has been .
knocked down and I think more and
more gay people will be allowed
to serve in the armed forces."
(air forge, cont. p. 13)
WCU Forms Gay Organization
Lesbian and gay male students at
Western Carolina University in Cul-
lowhee have recently formed the Gay
Students Association on their campus.
Eacus Haining, one of the organizers,
said the group formed in response to a
professor*s homophobic statements
during his lecture to a class of first
Haining said the full professor
and minister involved stated that
"homosexuality is a sickness needing
Members of the newly formed GSA
protested to the head of the department
They asked that the professor qimlify
his statements as his own views and
that the department see to it that other
viewpoints were presented.
"The first triumphs of GSA were
getting the professor to qualify his
homophobic remarks and motivating the
department to issue a position paper
supportive of gays,” Haining said.
He said that a loosely knit organ
ization of gay men and lesbians has
existed at the University for some time,
but that this incident is the first time
organizing has been public.
The GSA is working with the Counsel
ing and Placement Center on campus to
continue rat) groups for lesbians and
Haining said the center has been
supportive and may help with initial
funding to help GSA get off the ground.
"We want to establish a good base of
support before going to the student
government for funding and getting pub
licized in the campus newspaper," he
The GSA has also been successful in
getting the University library to order
books by and about lesbians and gay men.
Although the University librarian
declined to establish a separate collec
tion of the materials, a staff m^ber
will be assigned to work with the GSA
in selecting publications.
Haining said that the name of the
organization may be changed as more
people get involved and as the goals
The Gay Students Association can be
PO Box 831
Cullowhee, NC 282723