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90-year-old lesbian woman wins ‘honorable discharge’ from military 60 years after being forced out of U.S. Air Force for being gay

By Tanya Clark 8:06 AM January 23, 2018
Helen James

A woman sued the air force for being discriminated back in 1955.

90-year-old Helen Grace James, who was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, claimed that she was forced to leave the military because she was gay.

James, a former Airman Second Class, served in the military back in 1955. She was stationed at Roslyn Air Force Base on Long Island, New York.

The woman said that when officials learned that she was a lesbian, she was interrogated for hours. Investigators threatened to tell her family that she was gay unless she left voluntarily.

After she and two other lesbian women agreed to leave, James said she was discharged as “undesirable.” James who wanted to serve her country fought to have this changed.

Now, 60 years after being discharged and decades of fighting the government for recognition, James earned her honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force.

The 90-year-old veteran said that she is “still trying to process both the shock and joy” over the matter.