On Tuesday, National Coming Out Day, one of the leading activists in the gay rights movement, Frank Kameny, died in his home at the age of 86. Kameny, who earned is PhD from Harvard in astronomy, was fired in the 1950s from a federal position for being openly gay.
Kameny worked tirelessly to help homosexuals obtain US security clearances and to stop the American Psychiatric Association from classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. He also campaigned to end the US Department of Defense’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis stated, “Our nation and our movement have lost a tireless advocate for LGBT rights. Frank Kameny’s long and hard work laid the foundation for much of the progress we see today, and certainly none more so than the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It was his great wish to see that law relegated to the history books, and we are so proud that he was able to see that day and be a key part of that shared victory.”
Reuters 10/12/11; Washington Post 10/12/11; Servicemembers Legal Defense Network 10/12/11