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Interesting Facts about Frank Kameny, American gay rights pioneer

Search engine giant Google celebrates American astronomer, veteran, and gay rights activist Dr. Franklin Edward “Frank” Kameny, one of the most significant figures in the U.S. LGBTQ rights movement, with a Doodle in celebration of Pride Month on June 2, 2021.

celebrating dr frank kameny
Google Doodle for Celebrating Frank Kameny

Here is a look at the life and work of Frank Kameny.

Personal

  • Birth name: Franklin Edward Kameny
  • Birthdate: May 21, 1925
  • Birthplace: New York City, US
  • Died on: October 11, 2011 (aged 86)
  • Death place: Washington, D.C., US
  • Nationality: American
  • Education:
    • Richmond Hill High School,
    • Queens College,
    • Harvard University
  • Famous as: Politician, scientist (astronomer), army personnel, activist
  • Known for:
    • Gay rights activist
    • Fired by the U.S. Civil Service Commission for being gay
    • Co-founder of Mattachine Society, Washington, D.C.

Interesting Facts about Frank Kameny

  • Queens native Franklin (“Frank”) E. Kameny (1925-2011) is viewed as one of the country’s most important gay rights pioneers whose activism changed the LGBT rights movement.
  • Frank Kameny was born on May 21, 1925, in New York City, New York. Before earning a master’s degree and a doctorate in astronomy there, he learned at Richmond Hill High School and Queens College.
  • Except for his time in the army somewhere in the range of 1943 and 1946, Kameny lived in his family home in Richmond Hill, Queens from the year he was born until February 1948, when he left to attend Harvard University.
  • When Frank Kameny was in his mid-thirties, he had understood his dream: he got a Ph.D. from Harvard, educated at Georgetown, and, in 1957, began working as an astronomer for the Army Map Service.
  • In 1957, Frank Kameny was fired from his position as an astronomer in the U.S. Army’s Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. on account of his homosexuality. This assisted him with starting “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would help a rights movement of the mid-1960s for homosexuals.
  • Dr. Frank Kameny protested his firing by the U.S. Civil Service Commission because of his homosexuality and contended this case to the United States Supreme Court in 1961. Albeit the court denied his appeal, it is outstanding as the first civil rights claim dependent on gender orientation.
  • The lower court’s ruling was supported, finishing his career as a civil servant and an astronomer. Accordingly, he became an LGBT activist for the rest of his life.
  • Frank Kameny’s contributions to LGBT equality incorporate co-founding the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. in 1961 and establishing the East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) in 1963; organizing the Annual Reminders in 1965.
  • In 1963, Kameny and Mattachine launched a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws; he personally drafted a bill that at long last passed in 1993.
  • Frank Kameny additionally attempted to eliminate the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • In 1970, Frank Kameny was in New York to march in the first pride march with the Mattachine Society of Washington.
  • In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional representative.
  • Dr. Frank Kameny is likewise recognized for having the federal government lift its ban on the employment of gay and lesbian representatives in 1975, a challenge he pursued very nearly two decades.
  • When federal policy changed, in 1975, Dr. Frank Kameny had become a lion of the gay-civil-rights movement, which he appears to have relished, however his opportunity to study the stars had slipped away.
  • After two years he became the first openly gay person to run for Congress. He likewise took credit for coining the term “Gay is Good,” even though others used it during the 1960s.
  • On March 26, 1977, Frank Kameny and a dozen other members of the gay and lesbian community, under the leadership of the then-National Gay Task Force, informed then-Public Liaison Midge Costanza on genuinely necessary changes in government laws and policies. This was the first time when that gay rights were officially discussed at the White House.
  • Dr. Frank Kameny was named as the first openly gay member of the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Commission in the 1970s.
  • In 1981, Kameny became an elected delegate to the District of Columbia Statehood Constitutional Convention, which was an initiative towards DC statehood.
  • Frank Kameny stayed an advocate for DC statehood through the finish of his life. A resident of the Palisades, he was a fixture at the neighborhood’s annual July 4th parade.
  • In February 2009, Frank Kameny’s home in Washington was assigned as a D.C. Historic Landmark by the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board.
  • Frank Kameny stayed in Washington, D.C. until he died in 2011. That year, his home was listed as the Dr. Franklin E. Kameny Residence on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • On June 29, 2009, John Berry (Director of the Office of Personnel Management) officially apologized to Frank Kameny on behalf of the United States government. Berry, who is openly gay, given Kameny the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the department’s most prestigious award.
  • On June 10, 2010, following a unanimous vote by the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty divulged new street signs assigning 17th Street between P and R roads, N.W., as “Frank Kameny Way” in honor of Kameny.
  • At a lunch get-together on December 10, 2010, in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building, Dr. Frank Kameny was honored with the 2010 Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award.
  • Dr. Frank Kameny died on October 11, 2011, in Washington, D.C. from heart disease. He was 86 years of age.
  • Following Frank Kameny’s death, the giant rainbow flag on the tall flagpole at the corner of Market Street and Castro Street in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco was flown at half-staff for 24 hours starting on the afternoon of October 12, 2011, in line with the maker of the rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker.
  • On November 2, 2011, Kameny’s house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • On July 3, 2012, Minor Planet (40463) Frankkameny was named in Frank Kameny’s honor by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center.
  • In 2015, Frank Kameny got a U.S. Veterans Administration memorial headstone, at Washington, D.C’s. Congressional Cemetery at his memorial site; the headstone was dedicated during a ceremony on the morning of November 11, 2015; Veteran’s Day.
  • Before that headstone lays a marker engraved with the slogan “Gay is Good”. Frank Kameny coined that slogan, and in a 2009 AP interview said about coining it, “If I am remembered for anything I hope it will be that.”
  • In June 2019, Frank Kameny was one of the inaugural fifty American “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes” enlisted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument (SNM) in New York City’s Stonewall Inn.
  • The SNM is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights and history, and the wall’s disclosing was coordinated to happen during the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
  • On June 2, 2021, Frank Kameny was featured on a Google Doodle in celebration of Pride Month 2021.
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