Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Frank Kameny 1925 - 2011
The modern gay rights movement had several mothers and fathers, and one of the bravest and boldest was Frank Kameny who died yesterday at age 86. He was a WWII combat veteran and an astronomer employed by the government mapping office in the 1950s. He was dismissed from his job in 1957 during the purges of homosexuals. He was the only one out of thousands who challenged his dismissal. He founded the Washington DC chapter of the Mattachine Society, and made it into one of the society's most militant chapters. Together with Harry Hay in the early 1960s, he held the once very controversial view that there was nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality ("Gay is Good," a phrase he coined), a view not shared by most gay men and lesbians of the time. Kameny played a large role in what he called the "mass cure" in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of pathologies.
In later life, he played a major role in removing homosexuality as a disqualification for government service, and in 2009, received a formal government apology for his own dismissal in 1957. He was also active in the campaign to abolish DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell), the last military policy aimed at banning gay men and women from service.
Thanks for everything Frank, and rest in peace.
Posted by Counterlight at Wednesday, October 12, 2011