At 85, Frank Kameny has solidified his place in history as a leading figure in the country’s gay rights movement. When he was fired from the Army Map Service in 1957 because of his homosexuality, he became the first American to bring a civil rights case based on sexual orientation to court. Proudly, openly gay in a largely closeted era, the former astronomer quickly became an outspoken activist for LGBT rights. He co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington in 1961, one of the nation’s earliest gay rights groups, picketed the White House, and became the first openly gay Congressional candidate when he ran for DC’s House seat in 1971.
But even heroes need a hand sometimes. The Washington Blade reported that Dr. Kameny is struggling financially, and is having trouble meeting basic expenses such as utilities. Local LGBT organization Helping Our Brothers and Sisters (HOBS) has launched a Facebook campaign called “Buy Frank a Drink,” designed to help Dr. Kameny get back on his feet. According to the Facebook page, “Every day you and I live lives that are made better because of Frank Kameny. At the very least, each of us can agree that we would gladly buy the man a drink.” HOBS is asking individuals to set aside $10 — “the price of a nice cocktail — for the organization, which is giving all online donations to Dr. Kameny through Feb. 1.
So what do you say: would you buy Frank Kameny a drink?