World War II gay combat veteran Dr. Frank Kameny got a belated apology from the US Government during the heart of Pride Month in America on June 24th, 2009. It took more than half a century (52 years) for America, now led by President Obama, to have an openly gay Director of the Office of Personnel Management to apologize for firing Frank Kameny in 1957 because he was gay. In the interim, Dr. Kameny became the Gay Pioneer who, along with Barbara Gittings, founded the modern gay rights movement in America.
This apology, for his having been fired from his job as an astronomer for the Army Map Service, is but the latest vindication in the past few years for his lifetime of dedication to our rights. A few years ago the protest placards he and his compatriots made on his living room floor in the early 1960s were placed in the Smithsonian as a part of the treasures of America’s civil rights history. More recently, his papers became a part of the historical collection of documents in the Library of Congress. Earlier this year, his home became designated as a Washington DC landmark.
At 84, Dr. Frank Kameny his lived to see much of his life’s work on behalf of gay rights become a reality. AVER President Jim Donovan said, “American Veterans for Equal Rights applauds the apology received, and lovingly congratulates Dr. Kameny for his latest achievement. It is our fond wish for him to see the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy so that proud American patriots may choose to serve openly in Pride, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Frank Kameny enlisted to serve his country before his 18th birthday, becoming a member of America’s Greatest Generation by serving in combat in Europe during WWII. To read an accounting, in his own words, about his early military service, see: “An Ordinary Soldier PFC Franklin Kameny World War II Veteran” at http://www.gaymilitarysignal.com/061107Kameny.html
Contact: American Veterans For Equal Rights (AVER) Public Affairs