Who was Frank Kameny? Google Doodle honors gay rights activist to celebrate Pride Month

Frank Kameny, one of America's pioneering gay rights activists, successfully challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder


                            Who was Frank Kameny? Google Doodle honors gay rights activist to celebrate Pride Month
Google Doodle of Frank Kameny (Google)

The doodle of Frank Kameny, the gay rights activist who died at the age of 86, has been featured on Google's homepage. This is to honor the activist on the occasion of Pride Month, which is celebrated across the world in the month of June. Google, who posted the Doodle at the beginning of Pride Month, shared, "Thank you, Frank Kameny, for courageously paving the way for decades of progress!"

Kameny, in the doodle, is seen wearing a colorful garland. In the doodle, it seems as if he is walking towards something. The doodle was shared on June 2. Here's everything you need to know about the man who organized one of the first gay rights advocacy groups in the US. 

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Who was Frank Kameny?

Born on May 21, 1925, in Queens, New York, Kameny was an astronomer by profession and a war veteran. After his stints at Harvard and Georgetown, in 1957, Kameny took up a job at the Army Map Service. However, he was fired within months following a confrontation about reports calling him a "homosexual". 

Gay rights activist Frank Kameny (2nd L) speaks during the wedding ceremony of TV reporter Roby Chavez (R) and Chris Roe (2nd R) August 21, 2010 at the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, DC (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

He enrolled to study Physics at the age of 15 and went to Queens College. He fought in the war even before he got his doctorate from Harvard University and his field of expertise was astronomy. At the age of 32, after being fired from his job at Army Map Service, he was banned from working for the federal government in any capacity. Kameny filed a suit against the federal government in response to this ban.

He also filed his first gay rights appeal to the US Supreme Court in 1961, however, his appeal was denied. This was the beginning of a lifelong battle for equality. Soon after Kameny considered setting up US's first advocacy group for gay rights and did so years before the Stonewall Riots in New York.

His continued attempts to fight for equal rights led to major victories. In the 1970s, Kameny successfully challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Thanks to his efforts, the Civil Service Commission also reversed its ban on the LGBTQIA+ community. From a time when America did not recognize the rights of LGBTQIA+ community, to challenging an official bodies, Kameny has deeply influenced the fight for LGBTQIA+ community's equal rights.

Barack Obama shakes hands with gay rights activist Frank Kameny after signing a memorandum on federal benefits and non-discrimination on June 17, 2009 in Washington, DC (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

But it took Kameny 50 years to finally get an apology for being fired from his job at the Army Map Service. In 2009, the United States government tendered an official apology and in 2010 a stretch of 17th Street NW was named as 'Frank Kameny Way' by Washington DC in Kameny's honor.

Kameny died in 2011 at the age of 86. It was reported that Kameny was found dead in his home in Washington on October 11, 2011. The cause of death was determined by the medical examiner as arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

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