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Pioneer Gay Activist Frank Kameny Dies

By Charlotte Robinson, October 12, 2011
Sad news came yesterday that Franklin Kameny one of the most prominent gay rights leaders died in his home from natural causes at the age of 86. His death came less than a month before a planned celebration of the 50th anniversary of Kameny’s founding of the Mattachine Society of Washington. This was the first gay rights org in the nation’s capital. Last month we talked to Bob Witeck about his commitment to LGBT equality. He talks about his relationship with Kameny & the Mattachine Society being the only org at the time to reach out to in the 1960’s in this exclusive audio byte.

Listen to the full audio interview with Bob Witeck below....
Exclusive Audio Interview with Bob Witeck on Gay Buying Power, how federal marriage equality will help the US economy, LGBT Civil Rights & more ….

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Chad Griffin said...

America has lost a hero. Out and proud, Frank Kameny was fighting for equality long before the rest of us knew we could. Because there was one Frank Kameny, trailblazing and honest enough to speak out 50 years ago, there are now millions of Americans, coming out, speaking out and fighting for their basic civil rights. His is a legacy of bravery and tremendous impact and will live on in the hearts and minds of every American who values equality and justice.

Chad Griffin, Board President for The American Federation for Equal Rights

Aubrey Sarvis said...

Our nation and our movement have lost a tireless advocate for LGBT rights. Frank Kameny’s long and hard work laid the foundation for much of the progress we see today, and certainly none more so than the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It was his great wish to see that law relegated to the history books, and we are so proud that he was able to see that day and be a key part of that shared victory. At SLDN, we mourn the loss of our friend and ally, and we rejoice that Frank could join SLDN for special events and provide us with encouragement and wise counsel at critical stages as we followed in his footsteps and lifted posters to lobby Congress, the White House and the Pentagon for recognition and our equality.

Aubrey Sarvis Executive Director Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)

Malcolm Lazin said...

When the Annual Reminders took place, gays and lesbians were denied employment by the federal government. Frank Kameny was single-handedly responsible through remarkable intensity and perseverance in having the United States Civil Service Commission end the prohibition of gays and lesbians from government service.

The American Psychiatric Association included homosexuality as a mental disorder. Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings successfully demonstrated at the 1971 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. At the 1972 annual meeting, Kameny and Gittings presented a program with Dr. No, a gay psychiatrist, who was disguised to avoid recognition. With Dr. No, they explained why pervasive homophobia was the cause of emotional problems, not being gay. A committee was formed to study the issue. On December 15, 1973, homosexuality was removed as a mental illness.

I traveled across the nation with Frank Kameny at screenings of Gay Pioneers and at other events,” said Lazin. “Frank had a Ph.D. from Harvard, a computer-like mind and even into his 80’s was a feisty, lovable and committed activist for human rights. American history will remember Frank Kameny as an iconic civil rights leader.

Malcolm Lazin Founder and Executive Director of Equality Forum

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