Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heroes Are Not Born...

It’s often said that Heroes aren’t born in the womb, they are borne of the moment. Such is the case of Frank Kameny.
What?
His name doesn’t sound familiar?
Gather round children and let me tell you about the gay man who couldn’t wait for the Stonewall uprising.


Frank Kameny was born in 1925, and is still alive today. A World War II vetran, who entered college at 15 to study physics, and served in a World War also aggressively pursued an education earning a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard, After teaching at Georgetown University, he went on to win a Civil Service job with the U.S. Army Map Service. Soon after however, he was questioned about reports he was a homosexual, was fired and then permanently barred from any future federal government employment.

At a time when homosexuals were hunted by the government in a society which deemed them sick and perverted, Frank Kameny refused to accept the hand that fate had dealt him and sued the government taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Although the court denied his petition, it is notable as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation

Kameny realized it was society’s negative image of gays which even permeated the self-identity of gay and lesbian people themselves and that had to be challenged. Thus a gay pioneer was born. He, along with Jack Nichols, co-founded the Mattachine Society that pressed aggressively for gay and lesbian civil rights. In 1966 he coined the slogan “Gay is Good” a saying he says he wishes he would be most remembered for. Kameny did so much in our struggle for civil rights, in 1971 he founded the Gay Activists Alliance and he is also a cofounder of the National Gay Task Force and the National Gay Rights Lobby of which he remains involved with today.



Frank Kameny had a direct hand in making our lives as Gay men and women, possible today. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
Source and Material cited:
Who is Frank Kameny? by David Bianco
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Kameny
Accompanying Aural:
Gloria Gaynor: "I Am What I Am"

5 comments:

Lawrence said...

I've heard the name mattachine society before but never knew what it was exactly! THANKS! Enjoyed this.

markwagnal said...

Great choice to write about! Dr Kameny along with Jack Nichols formed Mattachine and were amazing gay rights activists consistently for decades. I saw a couple documentaries on him. Check out the one about the Kameny papers they're great reading! Thanks! (PS sorry to hear about your car breakin yesterday)

kris gilman said...

Robert Gant from QaF is big on gay senior issues and there are so many of then still around that minus the fame have an important story to tell. Great piece on Dr Kameny, not enough of us know our own history.

Brooke Santor said...

Nice post

cum.lover said...

Thanks for introducing me to Frank Kameny! Such a hero!

 
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