Franklin Edward "Frank" Kameny

Kameny.jpgFranklin Edward "Frank" Kameny was born May 21, 1925 in New York City. He was "one of the most significant figures" in the American gay rights movement.

In 1957, Dr. Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the U.S. Army's Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin an 18 year “Herculean struggle with the American establishment" that would "spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s". Kameny began the campaign by attempting to overturn the US Civil Service Commission ban on the employment of gays. He argued this case to the United States Supreme Court in 1961. Although the court denied his petition, it is notable as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation (the law was overturned in 1975. President Clinton also formalized that non-discrimination policy in Executive Order 13087 in 1998). In 1963, he helped initiate the effort to reverse the classification by the American Psychiatric Association of homosexuality as a mental illness (the classification was removed in 1973). He helped organize the first annual demonstrations by gays and lesbians in 1965 through 1969 in Washington, DC, New York City and Philadelphia. In 1968, Dr. Kameny coined the phrase "Gay is Good". In 1971, he ran for Congress as the second openly gay candidate for public office in the nation and the first for national office. The Gay and Lesbian Activists a co-founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Dr. Kameny handled many cases and was responsible for the 1975 reversal of the ban on security clearances for gays and lesbians. He worked with the American Bar Association on recommendations (which led Clinton Executive Order 12968, banning anti-gay discrimination in the issuance of security clearances). In 1975 and 1976, he helped found the Gay Rights National Lobby from which the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was formed and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club in Washington, DC. In 1981, Dr. Kameny was elected from Washington, DC Ward 3 as Delegate to DC Statehood Constitutional Convention. In 1993, a law that Dr. Kameny drafted overturned the DC sodomy law. In June of 2010 Washington D.C. honored Dr. Kameny by naming a street along DuPont Circle at 17th St. NW “Frank Kameny Way” in honor of his  lifetime achievements. Dr. Frank Kameny passed away on October 11, 2011

LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have contributed significantly in several ways to the advancement of our community. Limited by the number of days on the calendar, showcasing every individual who has made a major impact would be difficult. Yet, across decades and eras, revolutions and wars, and discovery and enlightenment, SPART*A honors past and present LGBT figures in our history this month.


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