IPR is featuring some of the many LGBTQ+ pioneers and modern-day heroes to celebrate Pride month.
Franklin (Frank) E. Kameny was an American LGBTQ+ activist who is credited with transforming the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Kameny served in the U.S. Army during World War II and then earned a Master’s degree and a doctorate from Harvard University before obtaining a government job. Then in 1958, he was arrested for his sexuality, fired from his job, and barred from ever working for the federal government again.
Kameny challenged his dismissal before the Civil Service Commission and then sued the government in federal court. He did not win the case but this is regarded as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation to be brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1961, he co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, one of the earliest LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. He also challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
After a half-century of activism, Kameny was recognized at the highest levels for his contributions to LGBTQ+ equality and received a formal apology from the U.S. government in 2009.
Frank Kameny — Father of the Gay Rights Movement
The Legacy Project