Standing proud on the cover was Air Force Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, a Vietnam veteran and decorated general who purposely outed himself to his superiors to challenge the military’s ban on gay service members. TIME’s cover story revealed the growing support surrounding gays, from teens to married men and women. The story notes that while there was still a stigma surrounding homosexuality, coming out was a positive step for many gays, even calling it a “rite of passage.”
Since homosexuals began to organize for political action six years ago, they have achieved a substantial number of victories. Eleven state legislatures have followed Illinois in repealing their anti-sodomy laws. The American Psychiatric Association has stopped listing homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder, and AT&T, several other big corporations and the Civil Service Commission have announced their willingness to hire openly avowed gays.