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90-year-old lesbian sues US Air Force for forcing her out 60 years ago

90-year-old lesbian sues US Air Force for forcing her out 60 years ago

Helen James is suing the United States Air Force for kicking her out for being a lesbian 60 years ago.

Airman Second Class headed out for dinner with another female service member on a Friday night in 1955.

They were heading to a dinner in a nearby town.

There were seats available though so the pair took their food to-go.

They drove to eventually find a quiet spot to eat. The pair were eating their food happily when flashlights filled the car.

The Air Police from the base had followed the pair.

James told The Washington Post: ‘They asked us what we were doing.’

She was arrested a few days later and put through hours of ‘humiliating interrogation.’

An interrogator threatened to go to James’ family if she didn’t agree to leave.

James said she would ‘sign whatever they wanted.’

James explained: ‘When they threatened to go to my parents, I just said that was it.’

Someone cut the buttons off her uniform one day before she was due to leave the based.

‘That’s how they disgrace you, so you can’t wear your uniform, so you can’t belong to the United States military,’ James continued.

She received an ‘undesirable’ discharge from the Air Force on 3 March 1955.

The woman has now filed a federal lawsuit against the US Air Force.

The complaint asks the court to change her discharge to ‘honorable.’ This would restore her rights and honor as a veteran.

J. Cacilia Jim is James’s attorney.

They said: ‘It has crippled her throughout her life. This is really so she’s not treated as a second-class citizen anymore.’