Frank Kameny, The Father of Gay Activism:
In 1957, Dr. Franklin Kameny was dismissed from his position as a astronomer for the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. for being gay. After his removal from the Army Map Service, Dr. Kameny argued his case in front of the Supreme Court, stating that the federal policy against homosexuality was "no less odious than discrimination based upon religious or racial grounds." Kameny's argument was the first time a civil rights case based on sexual orientation was presented before a U.S. court. Kameny fought in World War II and then earned a doctorate before moving to Washington D.C.
Mattachine Society, The First Gay Rights Organization:
Also in 1957, Dr. Kameny, along with gay rights pioneer Jack Nichols, co-founded the Mattachine Society
of Washington, one of the first gay rights organizations in the United States. The Mattachine Society fought for equal treatment of gay employees in the federal government, the repeal of sodomy laws
, and the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's manual of mental disorders.
On April 17, 1965, Kameny and Nichols, along with members of the Daughters of Bilitis
, launched the first gay and lesbian protest in front of the White House.
"Gay Is Good":
Dr. Kameny, inspired by Stokely Carmichael's empowering "Black is Beautiful" and "Black Power" phrases of the 1960's African-American civil rights movement, created the slogan "Gay is Good" in 1968. Dr. Kameny has been coined the "father of gay activism" by the Historic Preservation Review Board.
Frank Kameny, The First Openly Gay Candidate:
Franklin Kameny became the first openly gay man to run for Congress in 1971, when he ran in the District of Columbia's first election for a non-voting delegate to Congress. Dr. Kameny was also the first openly gay member of the District of Columbia's Human Rights Commission.
Historical Landmarks and Preservation:
In 2007, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History
included Kameny's picket signs carried in front of the White House in 1965, in the Smithsonian exhibit "Treasures of American History." In the year prior, The Library of Congress acquired Dr. Kameny's papers documenting his life. And in February 2009, Dr. Kameny's home, which is the focal point of the Washington D.C. gay and lesbian rights movement, was designated as a D.C. Historic Landmark by the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board.
Death at 86:
Dr. Kameny died on October 11, 2001 at age 86, after decades of service to the LGBT community. He lived to see the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.