Name: Perry Watkins
Distinction: Perry Watkins was an African-American gay man and one of the first service members to challenge the ban against homosexuals in the United States military
Brief History: Born in Missouri and always open about his sexuality, Perry was serving in was drafted into the military and at his initial examination told an Army psychiatrist he was gay. During his induction examination in Tacoma, Washington in May 1968, he stated that he was homosexual when asked, but the doctor still categorized him as “qualified for military service”. He did not take any legal action or protest being drafted and eventually became the only person ordered reinstated to active military duty by a court after being dismissed for homosexuality.
Importance: Perry’s actions was one of the first dominoes falling that would eventually bring about an end to gay people serving in the military.