HRC Remembers Frank Kameny
October 11, 2012 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
One year ago, the LGBT community lost equality pioneer Frank Kameny, a man whose tireless activism blazed a trail for the entire LGBT community.
In the 1950s he worked as U.S. government astronomer for the U.S. Army until the U.S. Civil Service Commission fired Kamney for being gay. Kameny presented the case to the Supreme Court and though he lost, marked history for bringing forth the first civil rights case based on sexual orientation.
Later Kameny organized some of the first gay rights protests outside the White House, co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington and ran in Washington, D.C. as the first openly gay candidate for U.S. Congress.
At the 2006 HRC National Dinner, Kameny accepted the National Capital Leadership award for his half-century of advocacy.
"It's always nice to feel that the things that I've worked on have paid off to the extent where they're considered worthy enough to be recognized," Kameny said of the award.
In 2009, the U.S. government issued a formal apology to Kameny for his dismissal as a U.S. government astronomer, calling his firing a “shameful action.”
The Library of Congress and Smithsonian National Museum of American History have archived over 70,000 letters, documents and memorabilia from Frank Kameny to preserve years of civil rights work.
Of all he has accomplished on behalf of the LGBT community and civil rights, Kameny said the one thing for which he would most like remembered is coining the slogan, "Gay is Good" in 1968.
This National Coming Out Day, we remember Frank Kameny by honoring his legacy as a forerunner of the modern LGBT rights movement.
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