One of the most important gay rights activists, Frank Kameny, who died Tuesday at age 86, is being honored and remembered by members of our community and the media. Rachel Maddow made a special tribute to Frank on her show yesterday, saying “we all have decisions to make about how to live this one life we have. Frank Kameny’s choices about how to live his life changed all of our lives, changed the world for all of us and forever.”
In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because he was gay. This started “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would “spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s.” In 1963, Kameny began a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws; he personally drafted a bill that finally passed in 1993. He also worked to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.