On Wednesday, the Google Doodle honours Dr. Frank Kameny, an American astronomer, soldier, and homosexual rights activist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential individuals in the United States LGBTQ rights movement.
Franklin Edward Kameny was born on May 21, 1925, in Queens, New York, and was talented from an early age. When he was 15, he enrolled at Queens College to study physics. He fought in the army during WWII and earned a PhD in astronomy from Harvard University following his return to the United States.
Kameny obtained a position as an astronomer with the Army Map Service in 1957, but he was sacked just months later due to a presidential order essentially prohibiting LGBTQ people from working for the federal government.
In the 1960s, he took his case to the Supreme Court and organised the first homosexual rights demonstration outside the White House. Frank Kameny and ten people were the first to conduct a homosexual rights protest in front of the White House in 1965, and again at the Pentagon later that year. Frank Kameny formed one of the country’s first homosexual rights advocacy groups years before the Stonewall Riots.
He also overturned the Civil Service Commission’s prohibition on LGBTQ personnel in the early 1970s, after successfully challenging the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of homosexuality as a mental disease.
When he stood for a non-voting Congressional delegate in the District of Columbia’s inaugural election in 1971, Kameny became the first out homosexual candidate for the US Congress.
Following his defeat, Kameny and his team founded the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, DC, which continues to petition the government and advocate for equal rights.