Home Statehood Frank Kameny, D.C. Statehood Hero
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A great statehood hero, as well as human rights and gay rights advocate, Frank Kameny died October 11, 2011.  He was elected as a delegate to the 1982 Statehood Constitutional Convention and helped write the D.C. statehood constitution that D.C. voters approved in November 1982.  He has long spoken out for equal rights for all District residents, as well as all Americans.  He is one of our great statehood heroes and we will miss him greatly.

 

Frank Kameny and Barbara Lett SImmons, D.C. statehood Heroes, Palisades Parade July, 4, 2009

Frank Kameny accepting ACLU-NCA honoring him as a Statehood Veteran August 6, 2009

Frank Kameny at his final Palisades Parade on July 4, 2011

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/frank-kameny-worked-for-dc-statehood-too/2011/10/13/gIQAgqcjkL_story.html

Published: October 14, 2011

Regarding the Oct. 12 obituary for Frank Kameny, “A leading D.C. figure of gay rights movement”:

Although Mr. Kameny was best known for his many years of work for gay rights, he was also a giant in the fight for rights for everyone. Mr. Kameny was a longtime resident of the District and worked for years for D.C. statehood. He was elected as a delegate to the 1982 D.C. Statehood Constitutional Convention and helped to write our statehood constitution, which was approved by the voters in November 1982. He spoke out and worked for statehood and rights for all citizens of the District for four decades.

Even in his 80s, he was out telling the world that the District needs statehood if its residents are ever to have the same rights as every other American.

Ann Loikow, Washington

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/frank-kameny-dies-wasleading-gay-rights-leader/2011/10/11/gIQAIsUwdL_story.html

Frank Kameny, leading gay rights activist, dies at 86

View Photo Gallery — Kameny was a founding member of the Mattachine Society, coining the “Gay is good” slogan in 1969.

By Martin Weil and Emily Langer, Published: October 11, 2011

Frank Kameny, 86, a persistent, often brash activist who was one of the leading figures of the gay rights movement in the Washington area and in the nation, was found dead Oct. 11 at his home in Northwest Washington.

His death was confirmed by Charles Francis, a founder of the Kameny Papers Project, and Marvin Carter, a

Mr. Kameny, a Harvard PhD whose homosexuality led to his discharge from a federal government job more than half a century ago, lived to see his years of determined advocacy rewarded by the success of many of his campaigns and by his ultimate welcome from a political establishment that had rejected him.

His death, apparently on National Coming Out Day, occurred in a year in which gay men and lesbians were accorded the right to serve openly in the armed forces, as David A. Catania (I-At Large), the D.C. Council’s first openly gay member, noted Tuesday night.

Through his efforts over the years, Mr. Kameny deserved to be known as one of the fathers of that shift from the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Catania said.

Mr. Kameny enlisted in the Army during World War II; in an interview last year with Richard Sincere on the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner Web site, he said, “They asked, I didn’t tell.”

In what appeared to be one of the great triumphs of Mr. Kameny’s often lonely, uphill struggle, the protest signs that he once carried in front of the White House were put on display in the Smithsonian Institution four years ago, to be viewed along with the museum’s other reminders of the course of U.S. history.

Mr. Kameny said he created the slogan “Gay Is Good.” In their pungent succinctness, the words both suggested his rhetorical skills and embodied the beliefs that he championed.

Years before the gay rights movement existed in any widely recognized form and in an era in which open assertion of homosexuality could invite physical harm, Mr. Kameny worked to increase the acceptance of gay men and lesbians in mainstream American society and to win recognition of their equality under the law.

Rather than shrink from revealing his sexual orientation, Mr. Kameny made it plain. He won attention and respect in a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign he waged 40 years ago for election as the District’s non-voting delegate to Congress.

Mr. Kameny was the central figure in several chapters of “Out for Good,” a history of the gay rights movement in the United States.

One of the book’s co-authors, Dudley Clendinen, called him an “authentic hero” of American culture. In summarizing his precarious position after the loss of his job, Clendinen noted that Mr. Kameny subsisted on a diet of baked beans. But, the author said, “he didn’t despair.”

In addition to the White House, he picketed at the State Department and at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He did not accept his federal dismissal without a fight, appealing through the courts and writing his own briefs.

“He was a stubborn and impatient person, and that was the recipe for his success,” Catania said. “He was never going to be content with second-class citizenship.”

 
Home Statehood Frank Kameny, D.C. Statehood Hero

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