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When I met Frank Kameny: pioneer LGBT civil rights leader has died – VIDEO

October 12, 2011

Frank Kameny, a pioneer of the LGBT civil rights movement in the United States, has died at age 86 while sleeping at his home in Washington, DC.

Franklin Edward Kameny was born in New York City and lived most of his life in Washington, DC. He was a World War II veteran, a Harvard PhD on Astronomy, and he was fired from the U.S. government in 1957 for being homosexual.

Kameny fought his case unsuccessfully at the U.S. Supreme Court (1961, first gay rights case ever filed). Since then he dedicated his life to organize and advance the LGBT civil rights movement in the U.S. The documents of his activism are now part of the Library of the Congress.,

He was very approachable, wise and kind, I met Kameny a few times during public acts where he was invited, and I interviewed Frank Kameny briefly in June 2010 during the Capitol Pride Parade a few days after a street in DC was renamed after him.

At least I got to thank him.

Frank Kameny in Washington, DC, in a photo dated in 1970

Every great social movement needs great leaders that people can look up to, to follow and learn from. It is important for the collective memory of communities, for the history to be read by future generations and because every movement needs faces to be recognized.

With the death of Frank Kameny, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities of the United States and the world, have lost a great leader. It is important that his legacy is never forgotten.

Reactions to Kameny’s death:

To be remembered

Frank Kameny on the birth of the U.S. LGBT civil rights movement

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 12, 2011 6:18 am

    Such a sad day for the LGBT movement. I too met and shook hands with Frank over a decade ago.
    He is a gentle man. A true leader and hero.
    He will definitely be missed, but his spirit will live forever.

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