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. In October 2006, Matlovich was honored by GLBT History Month as a leader in the history of the GLBT community.
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