Google Doodle on Wednesday is celebrating Pride month by honouring American astronomer, veteran, and gay rights activist Dr. Frank Kameny, widely hailed as one of the most prominent figures of the United States LGBTQ rights movement.
Born in Queens, New York, on May 21, 1925, Franklin Edward Kameny was gifted from a young age. He enrolled at Queens College to study physics when he was 15. He served the army during World War II and after his return to the U.S., he obtained a doctorate in astronomy at Harvard University.
In 1957, Kameny accepted a job as an astronomer with the Army Map Service, but he was fired just months later based on an executive order effectively barring members of the LGBTQ community from federal employment.
He contested the firing at the Supreme Court and organised the first gay rights protests outside the White House in the 1960s. In 1965, Frank Kameny and 10 others became the first to stage a gay rights protest in front of the White House and later at the Pentagon. Years before the Stonewall Riots, Frank Kameny organized one of the country’s first gay rights advocacy groups.
In the early ‘70s, he also successfully challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and in 1975, the Civil Service Commission finally reversed its ban on LGBTQ employees.
In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the US Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate.
After his defeat Kameny and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, DC, an organization that continues to lobby government and press the case for equal rights.
In 2009, over 50 years after his dismissal, Kameny received a formal apology from the U.S. government. In June 2010, Washington D.C. named a stretch of 17th Street NW near Dupont Circle “Frank Kameny Way” in his honor.
IN 2011, Frank Kameny died at the age of 86.