Caring for the Frank Kamenys

In one of history’s delicious ironies – in line with both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dying on July 4 – Frank Kameny, 86, died on October 11, 2011 – National Coming Out Day.

Frank was one of the earliest, most visible Gay activists to shatter the closet door and come out swinging.  In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. Rather than slink away as others did, he fought, ultimately taking his case before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Although he lost that case, he again refused to give up, and continued to play critical roles in the development and maturation of the LGBT rights movement. wrote about him on May 10, 2011.

Last week Metro Weekly reported that in the last couple years, Frank Kameny was physically incapable of keeping up all aspects of his home, and – due in large measure to the employment discrimination he’d faced throughout his life – was financially unable to hire the work out.  At one point, he kept warm via his kitchen stove.  Both straight and gay volunteer groups as well as mainstream government services were mobilized by a series of knowledgeable advocates to fill in his gaps, allowing Frank to die peacefully in his long-term home.  To read more about who did what and get inspired for your own community work, you can read the article at

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