A Gay Hero

Oct 7 2006 @ 5:55pm

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Jon Rauch writes:

Forty years ago, civil-rights pioneer, Frank Kameny, came to the aid of a frightened Library of Congress employee who was accused of "enjoying" the embrace of men. (I am not making that up.) On Oct. 6, that same Library of Congress accepted Kameny’s papers and cemented his place in history’s pages. Professional archivists will now painstakingly sort thousands of documents – the gift of Charles Francis’s Kameny Project, which raised $75,000 to purchase and donate them – and will ensure their availability to generations of students of U.S. civil rights. There is no better record of the torment that homosexuals endured at the hands of their government in the 1950s and 1960s. And there could have been no finer tribute to Kameny than the ceremony at the Library. If there were any dry eyes in the house after Frank accepted the tributes and took his seat, mine weren’t among them.

Frank Kameny, fired by the federal government for being gay, fought for justice and equality with a tenacity and integrity that has inspired all of us honored to follow in his steps. Here are some of the pickets that the polite protestors in suits and ties held aloft outside the White House in 1965, 1966, and 1968. Notice that all this happened before the Stonewall riots. The gay rights movement pre-dated the New Left. Kameny’s courage helped kick-start the freedoms I now enjoy. Thank you, Frank. And keep fighting.

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