- October 15, 2014
Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
Frank Kameny was always a bit of a rebel. As a teenager, he announced to his Jewish parents that he was an atheist; while a fellow at Harvard in the late 1940s, he refused to sign a loyalty oath designed to root out communists and fellow travelers; and in one of the most sexually conservative periods in our nation’s history, he dared to declare, “Gay is good!” He was also an astronomer, a World War II veteran, and the first person to appeal to the US Supreme Court over anti-gay employment discrimination after he was fired by the US government in 1957 for being gay.
Kameny – who received HRC’s National Capital Leadership Award in 2006 – was also a prolific writer, and a book of his letters, Gay is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Frank Kameny, comes out this November. As editor Michael G. Long says in the book’s introduction, “An old black typewriter was his preferred weapon as he battled for civil rights and liberties for homosexuals. Kameny shot off hundreds of thousands of words, many of them dripping with sheer contempt for the antigay attitudes and policies he was targeting.”
“Kameny was a groundbreaking leader in the LGBT movement,” said HRC Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer Jeff Krehely. “We wouldn’t be where we are today if he hadn’t had the courage to live his truth and stand up against discrimination decades ago.”