Franklin Edward Kameny shortly named Frank Kameny was an American gay rights activist and a former astronomer in the U.S. Army’s Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. who was dismissed from his position in the year 1957 due because of his homosexuality which led him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would “spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s”. He was regarded as the first known civil rights claim based on sexual orientation pursued in a U.S. court. He has been referred to as “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. In the year 1971, he became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate. He was appointed as the first openly gay member of the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Commission in the 1970s. On 29th June 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. Sadly, Frank Kameny left this world on 11th October 2011.
Google Celebrates American Gay Rights Activist Frank Kameny With Doodle
Google Doodle honored American astronomer, veteran, and gay rights activist Frank Kameny with a special graphic on 2nd June 2021. Frank Kameny was one of the most prominent figures of the US LGBTQ rights movement. The picture on its homepage, which shows Kameny wearing a colorful garland, pays tribute to him as we enter the month of June, which is celebrated globally as ‘Pride Month’.
What was the Death Cause of Frank Kameny?
In late 2007, Frank Kameny suffered from heart disease. Later, on 11th October 2011 (National Coming Out Day), Frank was found dead in his Washington home. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be natural causes due to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. He dies at 86.
Back in the year 2007, Frank’s death was mistakenly reported by The Advocate in its May 22 “Pride issue”, alongside a mistaken report that he had HIV. The report was retracted with an apology, and Kameny asked The Advocate, “Did you give a date of death?”
- Being an American gay rights activist.
- Notable as the first known civil rights claim based on sexual orientation pursued in a U.S. court.
- Widely recognized for his work as a gay rights pioneer, in the last years of his life.
What was the Education Qualification of Frank Kameny?
With the born name of Franklin Edward Kameny, Frank Kameny took birth on 21st May 1925. His place of birth was New York City, the United States of America. He held American nationality and he came from American-White ethnic background. His race was White. He cited his race as ‘Human’. He lastly celebrated his 86th birthday with his dear ones. Gemini was his Zodiac sign and by religion, he follows Christianity. Frank was born to Ashkenazi Jewish parents whereas he had not disclosed his parents’ names.
Concerning his educational qualification, Frank Kameny attended Richmond Hill High School and graduated in 1941. After that, in 1941, he went to Queens College to learn physics and at age 17 he told his parents that he was an atheist. He graduated with a baccalaureate in physics in 1948 from Queens College. For his further education, he enrolled at Harvard University. He graduated with both a master’s degree (1949) and a doctorate (1956) in astronomy. His doctoral thesis was entitled “A Photoelectric Study of Some RV Tauri and Yellow Semiregular Variables” and was written under the supervision of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin.
How was the Career and Lifestory of Frank Kameny?
- Initially, Frank was drafted into the United States Army where he served in the Army throughout World War II in Europe and later served 20 years on the Selective Service board.
- After the completion of his Ph.D. thesis, he was arrested by plainclothes police officers at a San Francisco bus terminal after a stranger had approached and groped him.
- He then relocated to Washington D.C where he taught for a year in the Astronomy Department of Georgetown University and was hired in July 1957 by the United States Army Map Service. During the period, his superiors questioned him about his sexuality but he refused due to which he was fired by the commission.
- He then appealed his firing through the judicial system, losing twice before seeking review from the United States Supreme Court, which turned down his petition for certiorari. After that, he devoted himself to activism. He rarely discussed his personal life and never had any long-term relationships with other men, stating merely that he had no time for them.
- In the year 1961, Kameny along with Jack Nichols, fellow co-founder of the Washington, D.C., branch of the Mattachine Society, launched some of the earliest public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House on 17th April 1965.
- He also wrote to President Kennedy asking him to change the rules on homosexuals being purged from the government.
- He and Mattachine launched a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws in 1963 and he personally drafted a bill that finally passed in 1993. Moreover, he worked to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
- He also argued in 1964 stating that homosexuals faced more severe discrimination than blacks because the federal government did not help them and actively discriminated against them. He said that homosexuals would fare worse from the success of the civil rights movement: “Now that it is becoming unfashionable to discriminate against Negroes, discrimination against homosexuals will be on the increase… Homosexuality represents the last major area where prejudice and discrimination are prevalent in this country.”
- He also coined the slogan “Gay is Good” after listening to Stokely Carmichael chant “black is beautiful” in 1968.
- Moreover, he became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress in the year 1971 after he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate where he was defeated by Democrat Walter E. Fauntroy.
- Then, he and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, D.C.
- He also became an elected delegate to the District of Columbia Statehood Constitutional Convention, which was an initiative towards DC statehood in the year 1981, and remained an advocate for DC statehood through the end of his life.
- After meeting with, Leonard Matlovich, a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force with 11 years of unblemished service and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, he planned the legal challenge alongside ACLU attorney David Addlestone. Later, Matlovich died from AIDS complications in June 1988.
- On 26th March 1977, Kameny along with a dozen other members of the gay and lesbian community, under the leadership of the then-National Gay Task Force, briefed then-Public Liaison Midge Costanza on much-needed changes in federal laws and policies.
- Then, he was appointed as the first openly gay member of the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Commission in the 1970s.
- He wrote a letter to the conservative, anti-gay publication WorldNetDaily in defense of Idaho Republican senator Larry Craig regarding Craig’s arrest for solicitation of sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom in 2007.
- Additionally, he wrote an open letter of protest to NBC journalist Tom Brokaw (and his publisher Random House) in November 2007, who wrote ‘Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the ’60s and Today’, over the total lack of mention of gay and lesbian rights activism during the 1960s and upbraiding Brokaw for having “‘de-gayed’ an entire generation”.
Awards, Honors, and Achievements
- Frank Kameny achieved her first award; John E. Fryer, MD Award from the American Psychiatric Association along with Barbara Gittings in the year 2006.
- His home in Washington was designated as a D.C. Historic Landmark by the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board in February 2009.
- John Berry (Director of the Office of Personnel Management) who is openly gay, presented Kameny with the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the department’s most prestigious award on 29th June 2009.
- He was honored with the 2010 Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award at a luncheon on 10th December 2010.
- He was also invited to attend the 22nd December 2010, ceremony where President Barack Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
- The giant rainbow flag on the tall flagpole at the corner of Market Street and Castro Street in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco was flown at half-staff for 24 hours beginning on the afternoon of 12th October 2011 at the request of the creator of the rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker following Frank’s death.
- His house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 2nd November 2011.
- Minor Planet (40463) ‘Frankkameny’ was named in Kameny’s honor by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center on 3rd July 2012.
- He was even inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display in Chicago that celebrates LGBT history and people in the year 2013.
- He also received a U.S. Veterans Administration memorial headstone in 2015 at Washington, D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery at his memorial site; the headstone was dedicated during a ceremony on the morning of November 11, 2015; Veteran’s Day.
- He was one of the inaugural fifty American “pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes” inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument (SNM) in New York City’s Stonewall Inn as of June 2019.
- Recently, he was featured on a Google Doodle in celebration of Pride Month on 2nd June 2021.
Who was Frank Kameny married to?
Regarding his personal life, Frank Kameny had not revealed anything. It is still a mystery. About his affairs, marital status, and love life, there is no new concern to it as he spent his whole life devoting gay rights activism. His sexual orientation was gay. He was notable as the first known civil rights claim based on sexual orientation pursued in a U.S. court.
How much was Frank Kameny Net Worth?
As per sources, the net worth of Frank was estimated to have between $1 Million to $3 Million at the time of his death. After devoting himself to activism, Kameny never held a paid job again and was supported by friends and family for the rest of his life due to which he does not have an exact salary. He was living a cool lifestyle back to his death.
How tall was Frank Kameny?
Frank Kameny was a handsome man with future-oriented and leadership qualities. He had a perfect height matching his body weight. His body build was average. His other body measurements such as chest size, biceps size, and more have not been revealed yet.