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.


Leonard said...

A triple AMEN, AMEN, AMEN -- Heros! LGBT Heros are men and women who have the courage to ¨be¨ who they are but to ¨say¨ who they/we are and are powerful successful at illustrating to many of the importance of being the authentic LGBT children that God created us to be.

Thanks be to God for Frank Kameny and each and everyone of us who have survived, or not, the loathing, prejudice, discrimination and everyday abuse.

Still, Frank and others have proven ¨it gets better¨...yes, it does!

NancyP said...

I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing him at a Creating Change conference about 5 years ago. He had a sharp mind and a sense of humor, in equal proportion. I was one of many who walked up to him to shake his hand and say "thank you".

Counterlight said...

Frank made it better for all of us.

Murdoch Matthew said...

Frank Kameny 1925 - 1957


Counterlight said...


That little bit of dyslexia in the title is now corrected.

Lapinbizarre said...

You ever meet him?

Counterlight said...

No, alas not.