Dr. Frank Kameny
Mayor Adrian Fenty has been exercising his power to rename DC streets like no mayor has done before, today dedicating the intersection of 17th & R street NW to Dr. Frank Kameny.
Many people consider Dr. Kameny to be the grandfather of the gay rights movement. In 1957, a time when being gay was definitely not socially accepted, he was fired from his job as an astronomer at the Army Map Service for his homosexuality. While many people would have accepted it as truth, as the way the world worked, Kameny chose to fight. In what was the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation, he argued his case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court who unfortunately denied his petition. In 1965 he organized a demonstration in front of the White House, and many of his original picket signs now reside in the Smithsonian Institution (he had one with him today). In 2006 the Library of Congress acquired his documents that describe his life as a leader in the gay rights movement. In 2009 his home here in Washington was designated as a DC Historic Landmark. Also in 2009, in a gesture that makes me smile, the U.S. government formally apologized to Kameny via the Director of the Office of Personnel Management who himself is openly gay.
Times have changed since 1957, largely in part to the courage and dedication of Dr. Kameny. As the center of DC’s gay community, Dupont Circle is proud to have a street named after him as a reminder of all that he has done to push equal rights for all.