ACLU Gay Rights Chapter: "UPGRADING GAY & LESBIAN VETERAN DISCHARGES"

Title

ACLU Gay Rights Chapter: "UPGRADING GAY & LESBIAN VETERAN DISCHARGES"

Date

likely between 1976 and January 1, 1980

Description

This pamphlet, created by the ACLU of South California Gay Rights Chapter, instructs veterans on how to apply to upgrade their discharge to honorable discharge, if they had been discharged "less than honorably" due to being (or being accused of being) gay or lesbian. The pamphlet explains that in 1976, Congress passed a law allowing all less-than-honorable discharges (or "undesirable discharges"), if "based solely on homosexuality," to be upgraded to honorable discharges, if application is made before January 1, 1980.
This upgrade was important for veterans in part because a dishonorable discharge disqualified them from medical benefits from VA Hospitals. If upgraded, benefits were retroactive to the date of application, according to the pamphlet.

This pamphlet was in Charles Shively's possession likely because his partner, Gordon Copeland, had been dishonorably discharged from the Air Force on April 3, 1953, In Charles' papers are also copies of letters written by Gordon to the Air Force asking for a hearing of his undesirable discharge due to "alleged homosexuality," as well as a letter to the Boston V.A. Regional Office requesting information on his VA benefits, both dated July 3, 1979.

Creator

ACLU of Southern California, Gay Rights Chapter

Format

8"x11" sheet folded in thirds

Citation

ACLU of Southern California, Gay Rights Chapter, “ACLU Gay Rights Chapter: "UPGRADING GAY & LESBIAN VETERAN DISCHARGES",” Documented | Digital Collections of The History Project, accessed April 21, 2018, https://historyproject.omeka.net/items/show/345.

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