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Frank Kameny


Dr. Franklin E. "Frank" Kameny (born May 21, 1925 in New York City) is "one of the most significant figures" in the American gay rights movement. In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin "a Herculean struggle with the American establishment that would transform the homophile movement" and "spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s".


Kameny protested his firing by the U.S. Civil Service Commission due to his homosexuality, and argued this case to the United States Supreme Court. Although the court denied his petition, it is notable as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation. Later that year he and Jack Nichols co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, an organization that pressed aggressively for gay and lesbian civil rights; in 1963 the group was the subject of Congressional hearings initiated by Congressman John Dowdy over its right to solicit funds.


He is a U.S. Army veteran of World War II in Europe and served 20 years on the Selective Service board.


Kameny is a member of Triangle Foundation's Board of Advisors.


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". The Smithsonian now has 12 of the original picket signs carried by gay and lesbian Americans at this, the first ever White House demonstration. The Library of Congress acquired Kameny's papers in 2006, documenting his life and leadership.


In February 2009, Kameny’s home in Washington was designated as a D.C. Historic Landmark by the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board.


On June 29, 2009, John Berry (Director of the Office of Personnel Management) formally apologized to Kameny on behalf of the United States government. Berry, who is openly gay, presented Kameny with 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 unveiled new street signs designating 17th Street between P and R streets, N.W. as "Kameny Way" in Kameny's honor.


Source: Wikipedia

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Taken on June 12, 2010