This past Tuesday, the LGBT community lost one of our fierce pioneers in the Gay Rights Movement. Frank Kameny dedicated over 50 years of his life fighting for equality for the LGBT community. He most certainly earns this week’s HWA, if not one of the Heroes of the 20th Century. The phrase Gay is Good was coined by our Frank Kameny.
Kameny suffered greatly during the homophobic McCarthy Era of the 1950s. Kameny was a government astronomer with a Ph.D from Harvard. He was fired from his federal job in the 50s for being gay. It was not until 2009 that the US government finally issued Kameny an apology for his being fired (kind of like the Pope offering Galileo an apology in 1985 for his whole whacky heliocentric theory). Unfortunately, there are still many states in the US where one can be fired for being gay. It was Kameny that took the American Psychiatric Association (AMA) to task in the 1960s for classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. Finally in 1973 when the AMA acknowledged their mistake and said homosexuality is not a mental disorder, Kameny sarcastically responded, “we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”
Then we move on to DADT and the irony that Kameny was a WWII Vet–I wonder how many Republicans would “BOO” him for serving his country in WWII? Thank goodness DADT has finally been repealed.
What an amazing legacy Frank Kameny has left–a life committed to civil rights. All of us in the LGBT community are in his debt.