Frank Kameny In Front Row During Signing OF DADT Repeal Into Law

Brave gay rights activist Frank Kameny was front and center when President Obama signed the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" into law last week. CNN runs down on what Kameny has done for the gay rights movement over the last several decades.

6a00d8341c730253ef011571583194970b-pi A seat at the front of the audience was reserved for 85-year-old Frank Kameny, who attended wearing the Combat Infantryman Badge that he was awarded for his service in World War II. Kameny recalls his service fighting in the wake of the Battle of the Bulge by saying, "I dug my way across Europe slit trench by slit trench, practically."

But Kameny was not invited because of any heroism he demonstrated in World War II, but rather for a much greater act of courage than even that conflict had demanded of him. He was invited because it was Kameny who began the assault on the military policy of discharging homosexuals by leading a demonstration at the Pentagon in 1965.

Kameny succeeded to an astonishing degree. He led the fight for tactics such as public demonstrations, went on the attack against the Civil Service Commission for its policy of firing homosexuals and spearheaded an effort to get the homophile movement to take the position that homosexuality was not only not a mental illness but was on a par with heterosexuality. In 1968, he got the only existing national association of gay rights organizations to adopt as its slogan a phrase that Kameny had coined, "Gay Is Good." Kameny himself had been discharged from the Army Map Service in 1957 for being gay.

Story.carter_davidLast year, Kameny received an official apology from the White House Office of Personnel Management for firing him in 1957 because he was gay.

He's also received some much-deserved recognition from the city of Washington, DC. His home in that city has been declared an historic landmark and 17th Street has since been renamed Frank Kameny Way in his honor.


  1. K in VA says

    It’s good to see Frank getting the respect and recognition he so richly deserves. He was a pioneer and we should all honor as a man on whose strong shoulders we all stand today.

  2. a big fan says

    I ran into Mr. Kameny in the early 80s at a bar in DC. I knew who he was and what he’d done, and being young and brash, I walked up to him and said that I’d be honored if he would shake my hand because he was one of my heroes for all he had done for our people.

    He laughed and thanked me, and then hugged and kissed me.
    I have never felt so honored.

    Bless his soul.

  3. mark meinke says

    Rainbow History DID get Dr Kameny’s home listed as a DC historic landmark two years ago BUT the National Park Service and the Register of Historic Places have DECLINED to consider the Kameny home and office for listing as a national historic site.

  4. says

    Here is one Oscar-caliber biography that should have been made first before J. Edgar Hoover; before Allen Ginsberg; arguably before Harvey Milk, even. I strongly recommend American actor Josh Lucas for the title role (Kameny). He played Reese Witherspoon’s husband in ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ Alternate working title: ‘The Mattachine Society.’

  5. Jonathan says

    I hope every person in the audience stood and applauded Frank Kameny. Brave and smart, we all owe him a debt of gratitude.
    I’m glad he is alive to see the end of sanctioned discrimination in the armed forces.

  6. QueerLiberation says

    Gay soldiers can’t bring peace of Afghanistan. Only the people of Afghanistan can.


    “Dear Afghanistan”: A New Year’s Call for Peace
    by The People’s Journey

    While the US may be the world’s single superpower in military terms, it faces another superpower: the voices of war-weary millions who detest violence and killing. In Afghanistan, in the United States, and among the populations of countries whose governments have joined the NATO coalition, millions of people are calling for an end to war in Afghanistan.

    On New Year’s Day, 01/01/11, people around the world are invited to raise their voices, through Facebook, Twitter, Free Conference calls, Skype, and blogs at several websites in a massive refusal to accept this war any longer. Let your New Year’s resolution be to stand for the people and end wars by sending a digital or spoken peacemaking message to people in Afghanistan. By amassing millions of messages calling for peace, we can create yet another indication that ordinary people within and beyond Afghanistan have had enough of war.

    Afghanistan’s people need food, not bombs; health care, not warfare; and courage for peace, not war. In the words of Abdulai, an Afghan teenager whose father was killed by the Taliban, the “Dear Afghanistan” campaign offers an alternative to the Obama administration’s most recent review of the war. Abdulai’s experiences of impoverishment, bereavement, and discrimination highlight realities that Afghans face every day. The U.S. government’s December review paid no attention to these conditions.

    You can let Afghan people know that their lives matter as much as yours. Assure them that the U.S. government’s war is unacceptable to you and that you are working to end it.

    We can catch courage from one another, sparking a New Year’s momentum to put an end to war.

    Follow the steps below to communicate the simple yet crucial demand: Stop the Killing in Afghanistan.

    On New Year’s Day 2011, from 7.05 pm Eastern Standard Time on the 31st of December 2010 to 7.05 pm Eastern Standard Time on the 1st of January 2011, from wherever in the world, you can:

    * Call from your Mobile or Home phone by dialing (661) 673-8600 & access code: 295191#. Please arrange to talk by sending an email to
    * SKYPE: Please arrange to call Afghanistan by sending your Skype ID in an email to
    * Send an email message to
    * Text or sms by mobile at +93 7791 84146 or +1 727-248-0308 (001-727-248-0308 if text messaging from outside U.S.)
    * Facebook: Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers
    * @DearAfghanistan on Twitter

    A note on timings for the NEW YEAR CALL:
    Place Time Date
    London 12.05 am to 12.05 am 1st Jan to 2nd Jan
    EST 7.05 pm to 7.05 pm 31st Dec to 1st Jan
    Pacific Std 4.05 pm to 4.05 pm 31st Dec to 1st Jan
    Jordan 2.05 am to 2.05 am 1st Jan to 2nd Jan
    Afghanistan 4.35am to 4.35 am 1st Jan to 2nd Jan
    The People’s Journey grew from the collaborative efforts of Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans. For more information, visit .

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