Google even introduced a new type of animated doodle celebration in honour of #FrankKameny.
Born in Queens, New York, in 1925, Frank Kameny was an American astronomer and a gay rights activist.
Here are some of the highlights from Kameny’s life-long resistance:
- At the age of 16, Kameny went to Queens College to learn physics and at age 17 he told his parents that he was an atheist.
- In 1957, Frank Kameny accepted a job as a US government astronomer with the Army Map Service but was fired a few months later because of his homosexuality.
- Kameny was arrested in San Francisco where the superiors questioned him about his sexual orientation, but he refused to provide information. Kameny was fired by the commission soon afterwards.
- In January 1958, he was barred from future employment by the federal government.
- In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the US Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate.
- During the early ’70s, he strongly challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and in 1975, the Civil Service Commission had to finally withdraw its ban on LGBTQ employees.
- He spent all of his working life goading the government to treat homosexual employees fairly. By the time federal policy changed, in 1975, he had become a lion of the LGBTQ movement, which he seems to have relished.
- The Documentary by Josh Howard “The Lavender Scare” perfectly shows how homosexuality repressed by the US government and how Kameny stood against it.
- After a half-century of activism, Kameny was recognised at the highest levels for his contributions to LGBTQ equality. He even received a formal apology from the U.S. government in 2009 for his 1958 dismissal. He did a lot of gay rights work and organizing pre-Stonewall.
In June 2010, Washington DC named a section of 17th Street NW near DuPont Circle “Frank Kameny Way” in his honour.
He died at the age of 86 in 2011 due to natural causes and left a remarkable example of resistance for all of those who have been systematically discriminated against by the government.
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