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Pioneering Gay Activist Frank Kameny Honored in DC

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Friends of gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, who died in October, organized a farewell viewing on November 3 at the historic Carnegie Library. A formal public memorial service and burial are being planned for a later date.

Kameny died October 11 at 86, leaving a 50-year legacy as an advocate who led the first gay rights march in front of the White House and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. He took his case to the Supreme Court in 1961 after he was fired from his job as a government astronomer for being gay.

Kameny was born in 1925 in New York City and went on to serve in World War II and earn a doctorate in astronomy at Harvard University. Later in life, he said he wanted to be remembered for coining the phrase “Gay is Good,” which he used to counter negative language about gays and lesbians.

The National Museum of American History opened a special exhibit in Kameny’s honor, displaying some of the most resonant picket signs from his marches. Some of them read “First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals” and “Homosexual Citizens Want to Serve.” The exhibit will be on view through January.

Brett Zongker, AP

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Associated Press

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