The Time I Met Frank Kameny

June 23, 1979

Frank Kameny (1925-2011) was one of the pioneering gay activists of the
1950s and 1960s. As an astronomer for the government he was fired from
his job in 1957 because he was homosexual. But he did something different,
he fought back, taking his case to the Supreme Court. They declined to hear
the case, but that radicalized Kameny and he never looked back. He co-founded
the DC branch of the Mattachine Society and in 1971 became the first openly
gay person to run for US Congress. And he championed many avenues against
prejudice over the decades, far too many to cover in a few words.

The Time I Met Frank Kameny

I am not writing this for any bragging purposes, as countless met
Dr Kameny during his 86 years. And nor is this meant to be a bio
of him, that information is easy to find, and worth the effort. I'll just
say I honor him for his groundbreaking gay activism during the
1960s and 1970s. I just want to get this down on paper.

I got to meet Frank Kameny at Virginia's first Lesbian & Gay Pride
Day Festival, June 23, 1979, in Richmond. I was living in Norfolk
(less than two hours away) and actively volunteering on that city's
gay newspaper, Our Own Community Press. I was just months away
from being named its Editor, though I did not know that then. A gang
of us from the paper went up to Richmond for the festival, and we set
up a table for Our Own, with various copies of it spread around.

It was unexpected, but I recognized him immediately (my table partner
did not). He came by, looked at the table, and I don't know whether it
was because he had heard of us or could tell from the display, he said
"You're doing good work." I thanked him....I don't even remember if I
shook his hand, I was taken so by surprise, and he moved on. I could
not have been more proud. And I explained to my table partner who
that was. It was one of the lucky moments in my life being at the right
place, right time, and I haven't forgotten it.

I also wrote an article about Richmond Lesbian & Gay Pride Day for our newspaper...