The Battle Frank Kameny Took Up

Rob Tisinai

October 12th, 2011

Jim has posted a lovely tribute to Frank Kameny below. I’d like to add a note of my own.

With presidential hopefuls saying our struggle has nothing in common with the civil rights movement, with lawyers from the House of Representatives — paid for with our tax dollars — claiming gays don’t face a significant history of discrimination, this is a good time to look at the huge, official, morally-sanctioned, seemingly-unbreachable wall of bigotry, ignorance, and hate that Kameny helped knock down.

Start with this letter to Kameny from the US Department of Commerce, explaining why it’s just good sense to fire homosexuals (click to enlarge):

Here’s one from the State Department, saying that if an open homosexual is to be hired, then at the very least the homosexual would have to admit to being sick:

.

This is the battle Kameny faced. You can find more in the Kameny Papers Archive.

I’ll tell you, sometimes I feel moral exhaustion just from monitoring the extreme, fringe, anti-gay views of Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, and the folks at NOM. I’m awestruck by Kameny’s courage and fortitude in fighting this sort of bigotry when it was the official policy of the federal government.

The company I work for doesn’t discriminate against gays. I owe Kameny for that. The Board of Directors doesn’t see my orientation as bringing hatred, ridicule, and contempt to the firm. The HR department will never brand me as sick or emotionally disturbed for being gay. I owe Kameny for that.

I owe Frank Kameny a lot.

The battle’s not done. Perkins, Fischer, and the rest of them are working to bring back the bad old days. We still have to fight. We have to ensure Kameny’s legacy of dignity and respect isn’t ground into the mud of bigotry and hate. But thanks to Frank Kameny, many of us — not all, perhaps not even most — but at least many of us can take up the cause without fear of losing our jobs, our homes, our very means of survival.

Rest in peace, Frank Kameny. You’ve earned it.

andrew

October 12th, 2011

My partner and I are nearly 3/4 of a generation apart, age-wise, and we’ve had a LOT of conversations about the changes we see in the young of today.

He’s annoyed and concerned about the lack of a sense of history in our young people – especially young gay people – who take the relative freedoms and ease for granted, without any appreciation for the discrimination and hardships that have come before (and that’s not even discussing 2 generations decimated by HIV/AIDS) – which he feels leads to a lack of vigilance, activism, etc.

At the same time, I have to remind him that the flip side of this is that young people today – gay and straight – seem to be operating from a tabula rasa – that the notion of discrimination against gays for them is as anathema as it would be to argue against the right of women to vote, or for blacks to get services whereever the hell they want. It just doesn’t compute for them – that’s from “the olden days”.

I’m not sure what the relationship is there – whether ignorance of the past makes it easier for the next generation to shrug off oppressive and outdated ideas, even though it sometimes means a lack of appreciation for what it took to make that possible. Whether the price of “well, duh” is, effectively “huh?”.

Either way, I certainly appreciate it, and man am I glad I live in a generation and a society where Kameny was my elder.

San Diego Rob

October 12th, 2011

So in order for us to get the right to work in the State Dept, we also had to let in all the adulterers, fornicators, and child molesters. I wonder who advocated for the removal of those other issues? We’re born this way, they choose to do those things behind their wives back, that is their choice!

Think about it, half of congress would be expelled.

I was disgusted at some of the hateful comments I read from people on the yahoo news article about his passing. This country is so ignorant.

MattNYC

October 13th, 2011

SDR,

That will teach you a lesson about reading the comments on Yahoo. :-/ Usually within the first three, I am sick to my stomach.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

FBI Reports Massive Surge In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes in 2015

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.