Dr Frank Kameny, an American astronomer, veteran, and LGBT rights activist, was honoured in a Google Doodle on Wednesday in honour of Pride Month. Kameny is widely regarded as one of the most influential individuals in the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. Kameny, a Harvard graduate, was the first homosexual rights activist to file an appeal in the United States Supreme Court after being denied federal employment due to his sexual orientation. Kameny also questioned if homosexuality should be classified as a mental illness.
Kameny received a formal apology from the US government in 2009, more than 50 years after he was discharged from the military. In June 2010, a section of 17th Street NW near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC was renamed “Frank Kameny Way” in his honour. Google Doodle praised Kameny for “courageously paving the groundwork for decades of progress” in its note. Throughout the month of June, Google Search will display a colorful confetti surprise on all Pride-related searches. Google also mentioned how “Frank Kameny organised one of the first LGBT rights advocacy groups in United States history” in a few follow-up tweets.
— Movie Bungalow (@moviebungalow) May 26, 2021
In celebration of Pride Month, today’s #GoogleDoodle honors astronomer, veteran, & gay rights activist, Dr. Frank Kameny—an influential figure in the LGBTQ rights movement 🔭🌈❤️
— Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) June 2, 2021
Who was Frank Kameny?
Franklin Edward Kameny was born on May 21, 1925, in Queens, New York. Kameny was gifted from an early age, and at the age of 15, he enrolled at Queens College to study physics. He served in the military during WWII and earned a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University after his return to the United States.
Kameny & Gay rights activism
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 effectively prohibiting LGBTQ people from working for the federal government. In response to his dismissal, Kameny sued the federal government, filing the first LGBT rights appeal in the United States Supreme Court in 1961.
Kameny was denied but not deterred, and he began a lifelong campaign for equal rights. He founded one of the country’s first homosexual rights advocacy groups years before the Stonewall Riots. He also overturned the Civil Service Commission’s ban on LGBTQ personnel in the early 1970s, after successfully challenging the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of homosexuality as a mental disease.
What is Pride Month?
As a memorial to individuals who were participated in the Stonewall Riots, Pride Month is observed throughout June. When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, in 1969, it sparked a six-day movement of protests and violence. The campaigners called for the creation of safe spaces where LGBT+ persons may openly discuss their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested. Pride Day is observed on June 28th, the day of the first gay pride march in New York City in 1970. Pride Day is celebrated on several dates during the month of June in communities all around the world.