glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy





social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

Kameny, Frank (1925-2011)  
page: 1  2  

In addition to battling discrimination in civil service employment, Kameny also sought to challenge the negative images of homosexuals prevalent in the 1960s. Toward that goal, he coined the slogan "Gay is Good." The slogan was later adopted by the 1968 North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO).

In 1971 Kameny participated in the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, where he accused psychiatrists of victimizing gay men and women with their unscientific theories of homosexuality. He urged the APA to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric illnesses, which the organization eventually did in 1973.

Sponsor Message.

In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay person to run for congress. Competing for D. C.'s non-voting seat in the House of Representatives, Kameny came in fourth among six candidates. He used the campaign to call attention to the inequities experienced by homosexuals in a country in which the government "wages a relentless war against us."

Kameny was also a cofounder of the National Gay Task Force and the Gay Rights National Lobby. In 1975, he was appointed a Commissioner of the D. C. Commission on Human Rights, becoming the first openly gay municipal appointee. He also personally drafted the bill that repealed D. C.'s law, which was finally enacted in 1993.

In his later years, Kameny finally received the recognition he deserved, not only from the glbtq community, but from the United States itself. In 2006, for example, the Library of Congress acquired Kameny's papers; and in 2007 the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History featured the picket signs he carried in front of the White House in 1965 in its exhibit "Treasures of American History."

In February 2009, Kameny's home in Washington was designated as a D.C. Historic Landmark by the District of Columbia's Historic Preservation Review Board.

Perhaps most gratifying of all, on June 29, 2009, John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management in the Obama administration, formally apologized to Kameny on behalf of the U.S. government. Berry, who is openly gay, characterized the government's firing of him as a "shameful action," and also presented Kameny with the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the department's most prestigious award.

Kameny passed away at his home in Washington, D.C. on October 11, 2011. His death was greeted with many tributes from glbtq leaders. For example, Chuck Wolfe of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund said that "Dr. Kameny stood up for this community when doing so was considered unthinkable and even shocking, and he continued to do so throughout his life. He spoke with a clear voice and firm conviction about the humanity and dignity of people who were gay, long before it was safe for him to do so. All of us who today endeavor to complete the work he began a half century ago are indebted to Dr. Kameny and his remarkable bravery and commitment."

Craig Kaczorowski

  <previous page   page: 1  2    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Social Sciences

   Related Entries
social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homophile Movement, U. S.

The homophile movement of the United States refers to organizations and political strategies employed by homosexuals from the end of World War II to 1970.

social sciences >> Overview:  McCarthyism

McCarthyism, which attempted in the late 1940s and early 1950s to expunge Communists and fellow travelers from American public life, made homosexuals the chief scapegoats of the Cold War.

social sciences >> Overview:  Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, the clinical process of treating mental and emotional health problems, has recently been energized by a movement to depathologize homosexuality and to enhance the dignity and self-respect of glbtq clients.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sodomy Laws and Sodomy Law Reform

Sodomy laws, which provided the legal basis for police harassment of sexual minorities, were conclusively overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2003, after more than half a century of efforts at reform.

social sciences >> Overview:  Washington, D. C.

The capital of the United States since 1800, Washington, D. C. has also been one of the capitals of glbtq life in the country for more than a century, despite periodic crackdowns by the police and government.

social sciences >> Overview:  Workplace Discrimination

Although work remains to be done, the expansion of protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation stands as one of the significant accomplishments of the American lesbian and gay civil rights movement.

social sciences >> Birch, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, has been a visible and effective spokesperson on a wide array of issues of concern to the glbtq community.

social sciences >> Gittings, Barbara

A pioneer in the American gay rights movement, Barbara Gittings worked tirelessly within the American Library Association to make material with glbtq content more accessible to the reading public.

social sciences >> Hoover, J. Edgar

As head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover wielded tremendous power for almost five decades; although likely homosexual himself, he participated fully in the McCarthy era's war on homosexuality.

social sciences >> Manford, Morty

A pioneer in the gay liberation movement, New York activist Morty Manford inspired his parents to help found the organization that became Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG).

social sciences >> Matlovich, Leonard P., Jr.

By challenging the United States Air Force's ban and gay and lesbian service members, Leonard P. Matlovich, Jr. became one of the glbtq community's most visible activists in the 1970s.

social sciences >> Mattachine Society

One of the earliest American gay movement organizations, the Mattachine Society was dedicated to the cultural and political liberation of homosexuals; but in the face of McCarthyism, it adopted conservative policies of accommodationism.

social sciences >> National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

The oldest continuously operating national glbtq interest group, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has played a significant role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP)   

The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals exists to empower glbtq careerists and students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

social sciences >> Sagarin, Edward (Donald Webster Cory)

Edward Sagarin, writing as Donald Webster Cory, produced important books that prepared the stage for the gay liberation movement, but under his own name he later attacked the very movement he inspired.

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> Vincenz, Lilli

Veteran activist Lilli Vincenz, who commenced her activism before Stonewall, also collected thousands of documents about the movement for glbtq rights; donated to the Library Congress, they provide scholars an invaluable resource.


D'Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983.

Johnson, David. "Frank Kameny." Leaders from the 1960s: A Biographical Sourcebook of American Activism. David DeLeon, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. 253-60.

_____. "Homosexual Citizens: Washington's Gay Community Confronts the Civil Service." Washington History 6 (Fall/Winter, 1994/95): 45-63.

Marcus, Eric. Making History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.

Naff, Kevin. "Gov't Apologizes to Kameny." (June 24, 2009):


    Citation Information
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Kameny, Frank  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated October 12, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.