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GLAAD Statement on the Passing of LGBT Advocacy Pioneer Frank Kameny

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Rich Ferraro
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

October 11, 2011

New York, NY, October 11, 2011- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today issued the following statement following news that LGBT advocacy pioneer Frank Kameny died in his Washington, D.C. home:

"Frank Kameny sparked national change and set the example for gay and lesbian Americans to live their lives openly and proudly," said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. "He taught us the power that our visibility and stories have in changing hearts and minds. Today on National Coming Out Day, we honor Frank's legacy not only by remembering this pioneer, but by continuing his work to speak out and share our own stories."

Frank Kameny is recognized as one of the pioneers of the modern LGBT advocacy movement. After being dismissed from the U.S. Civil Service Commission for being gay, he argued the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation before the United States Supreme Court in 1961. Together with Jack Nichols, he co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington and launched the first public demonstrations by gay and lesbian Americans at the White House in 1965. Kameny was appointed as the first openly gay member of D.C.’s Human Rights Commission and was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.

In 2007, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History included his picket signs from the White House demonstration. Papers documenting his life were added to the Library of Congress in 2006. In 2009, Kameny received the Theodore Roosevelt Award.