October 12, 2011
>Saying Goodbye to Frank Kameny, ‘A Central Figure in LGBT History’
Dear GLSEN friends,
This has been a difficult LGBT History Month. A few days after Paula Ettelbrick, another towering figure in LGBT history has died: Frank Kameny passed away yesterday at the age of 86.
A central figure in LGBT history, Frank Kameny was an inspiration to generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He was full of fight and a paragon of pride.
When the federal government fired him for being gay in 1957, he refused to accept society’s verdict on his identity, and, instead, took a case challenging his dismissal to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1961.
While his case was unsuccessful, Kameny received a formal apology from the U.S. government in 2009 for his firing. Kameny refused to apologize for or be ashamed of being gay, leading the first LGBT rights pickets on the White House in 1965 and proclaiming “Gay is Good” to all who would deny members of the LGBT community their rights and dignity. His example is critical at a time when we face so many public challenges to LGBT people’s sense of self-worth and value to society. Right up until the time of his death, Frank Kameny would appear at events designed to rally the community. As we continue the fight, he will be sorely missed.