A 90-year-old US woman who was suing the air force over her expulsion for being gay more than 60 years ago has had her records updated to reflect an honourable discharge.
Helen Grace James had long been denied health and other benefits typically offered to veterans because of the dishonourable discharge, which occurred after she was coerced into admitting her sexuality.
James believed she had had been followed and her room searched while the air force investigated her prior to her discharge.
She was interrogated for days and threatened with outing to her family.
Now that the air force has agreed to upgrade her records to show an honourable discharge, James is waiting for her official discharge paperwork.
“I’m still trying to process it,” she said.
“It was both joy and shock. It was really true. It was really going to be an honourable discharge.”
James said the air force had finally recognised “my job helping to take care of the country I love”.
“The air force recognises me as a full person in the military,” she said.
The US military did not allow homosexual personnel until 1993, when the controversial ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy was introduced.
Gay people have been allowed to serve openly since 2011.