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Gay Rights Pioneer Dies On National Coming Out Day

Oct 12, 2011
Originally published on October 12, 2011 8:24 am
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Let's remember, now, a pioneer for gay rights. Yesterday, on National Coming Out Day, Frank Kameny died.


Mr. Kameny fought in World War II. He earned a PhD from Harvard. He landed a job with the U.S. Army Map Service. And then, in 1957, he was fired for being gay. Frank Kameny sued, and lost, and appealed, and lost. But this was still a landmark case. It was the first federal civil rights claim based on sexual orientation. He also organized a group called the Homophiles.

FRANK KAMENY: We initiated picketing and demonstrating by gay people in April of 1965. And those days, that kind of demonstration, I mean actually picketing in front of the White House was the ultimate in protest in 1965.

INSKEEP: That's Frank Kameny in a 1995 interview with NPR. For 50 years, he championed gay rights. A couple of years ago, the White House apologized for his firing in 1957. Frank Kameny was 86 when he died.


INSKEEP: And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inkseep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.