D.C. Street Named for Gay Rights Pioneer Frank Kameny


Two blocks of 17th Street NW have been renamed 'Frank Kameny Way' in honor of the gay rights pioneer, the Washington Blade reports:

Kameny "D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was scheduled to preside over a ceremony and the installation of a new street sign Thursday to officially put in place the Frank Kameny Way street designation.

The ceremony was to be part of a long list of events associated with Capital Pride, the city’s annual LGBT community celebration.

The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which has jurisdiction over the 17th Street strip near Dupont Circle, initiated the Kameny street designation earlier this year.

According to ANC Commissioner Mike Silverstein, the commission voted unanimously to ask the city to designate as Frank Kameny Way a section of 17th Street between P and R streets, N.W.

“We — and everybody else we talked to — thought this was long overdue,” Silverstein said.

Kameny began organizing efforts to secure gay civil rights in the late 1950s after he lost his job as a civilian astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service when authorities discovered he was gay. He founded the Mattachine Society of Washington in the early 1960s, the city’s first LGBT group. He is credited with playing a leading role in shaping the local and national LGBT rights movement for the next 40 years."

(top image via band of thebes)


  1. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    If we’d had ten Frank Kamenys we would have stopped being second class citizens 30 years ago. With no disrespect to the good Harvey Milk did, Frank is the one Obama should have given the first Presidential Medal of Freedom to a gay activist. For instance, when Frank and others were protesting our inequality outside the White House in 1965, Harvey was still mourning the fact that Goldwater had not won the previous year’s election in order to live inside it.

    He also led protests that year at the Pentagon against the ban on gays in the military. Few seem to know that, at that time and earlier, Frank was about the only source of advice and advocacy that a gay service member could count on. Reading an interview with Frank in the “Air Force Times” inspired Leonard Matlovich to contact him and eventually out himself in 1975 as the first service member to fight the ban on gays. Even gay civilian DOD employees sought his help. The following quote is classic Kameny, from what he told those running a 1969 Defense Department security clearance hearing:

    “I, personally, placed my life in jeopardy, in frontline combat, under enemy fire, for this country. [My client] served honorably in the Armed Services of this country. We did not do so in order that our government—or any agent or officer of it—might disparage our people, by which we mean our fellow American homosexuals, or our way of life—to our faces, or behind our backs. We are fully as entitled to our dignity, and to the respect of our government as the homosexual citizens that we are, as are all other American citizens. . . . In the past, we have remained silent when [antigay] remarks were made. We do not intend to continue so. If any such remarks are made, the proceedings will be halted on the spot and will not continue until the remarks have been retracted and apologized for. You and your colleagues elsewhere in this Department have been placed on notice.”

    Frank founded or cofounded the DC chapter of the Mattachine Society, Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. In 1971, he was the first out gay man to run for Congress. After shocking contemporaries by declaring “Gay is good,” he helped force the American Psychiatric Association to declare that gays are not “sick”—perhaps the greatest achievement in our history. Today, his gay rights buttons and picket signs are at the Smithsonian and his 50,000+ pages of literature and correspondence rest in the hallowed collection of the Library of Congress, along with the artifacts and papers of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. His home has been designated an Historical Landmark.

    Bless you, Frank! You deserve it all!


  2. edna kameny lavey says

    so sorry that my comments are never accepted.
    I want to be proud of ny brother, but he has never missed a chance to hurt and insult me.
    He could have done all his deeds, without being extreme heterophobic.
    Without me he would not have the house. Ask him how he did stuff on 20 cents a day,
    ask him what he did with an inheritance of
    1/2 million plus, and still cried poor. He refused to ever look for a civilian job. ASK ME WHY I CANNOT BE PROUD OF HIM.ALTHO I





    an extreme heterophobic. He should have acknowled

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