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Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999
File 026
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Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 026. 1999-12-17. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 23, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/215.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1999-12-17). Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 026. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/215

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 026, 1999-12-17, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 23, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/215.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date December 17, 1999
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 026
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 17, 1999 COMMUNITY 25 Past Out 1957 GAY AND LESBIAN HISTORY by DAVID BIANCO Astronomer turned gay actwist by DAVID BIANCO Who is Frank Kameny? The son of middle-class Jewish New Yorkers, Frank Kameny, who was bom in 1925, was a child prodigy who entered college to study physics at age 15. But his education was interrupted by active duty in the armed forces during World War II. In the mid-1950s, while enrolled in the Ph.D. program in astronomy at Harvard, Kameny spent a year researching at the University of Arizona. While in Tucson, he came out to himself and began frequenting the city's gay nightlife. "I took to it like a duck to water," he later quipped. After earning his Ph.D. in 1956, Kameny accepted a teaching position at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. After one academic year, he moved to a civil service job with the U.S. Army Map Service in July 1957. But Kameny's gay identity soon clashed with his professional life. "I wasn't about to be [a covert kind of person] simply because I was working for the government," he once said. Late one night in Lafayette Park, a popular gay cruising area across from the White House, Kameny was arrested "for investigation" of a morals charge, but quickly released. Nothing came of the incident immediately. But that fall, Kameny was on assignment in i [await when his supervisor requested his immediate return to Washington. An investigator with the Civil Service Commission had been tipped off about Kameny's arrest. After only a few months on the job, Kameny was fired, and in January 1958, he learned that he was barred from all future employment with the federal government. Even though this was the start of the Space Age and his skills were in demand, Kameny was unable to find employment. In 1959, Kameny finally found a fallback position in physics. But his experience spurred him to militant activism. "My dismissal amounted to a declaration of war against me by the government," Kameny said. "And I tend not to lose my wars." Kameny went through a lengthy process of suing the government to get his job back, but his efforts failed. After three years, Kameny's attorney retired from the case and advised Kameny to give up the fight, too. But the activist decided to pursue it on his own and learned how to file a writ with the U.S. Supreme Court. But in March 1961, the high court rejected Kameny's petition to hear his case. With advice from the New York City chapter of the Mattachine Society, Kameny and a friend established the Washington, D.C. branch of that organization, which had started 10 years earlier in Los Angeles. The first meeting of the D.C. chapter, held on Nov. 15, Frank Kameny took to gay life 'like a duck to water' and became a leading activist in the beginning of the gay rights movement. 1961, drew about 12 men and women, who elected Kameny as the new group's president. Unlike many other gay leaders of the time, Kameny embraced direct action along the lines of the black civil rights movement. Instead of accommodating the established opinion that gays were sick and perverted, Kameny believed that gay people should fight a "down-to-earth, grass-roots, sometimes tooth-and-nail" battle. In 1962, the Washington Mattachine began its direct-action campaign. The first move was to send out a news release about its formation to elected officials in Washington. It also began publishing a newsletter called "The Gazette," and mailed it to officials like J. Edgar Hoover. Under Kameny's leadership, the D.C. Mattachine charged to the forefront of the nascent gay rights movement. The chapter focused on trying to reform the government's exclusionary policies toward gays in federal employment and successfully lobbied the ACLU to take up the cause. They also organized the first gay demonstration of the White House in April 1965. A few months later, the U.S Court of Appeals for the first time decided that the rejection of an application for federal employment on the grounds of "homosexual conduct" was "too vague." Dogged by a long line of similar court cases, the Civil Service Commission formally amended its anti-gay policy in 1975. After 18 years, Kameny was vindicated. Following the Stonewall riots, the D.C. Mattachine was eclipsed by newer gay groups. Although his leadership waned, Kameny's activism continued. For his pioneering efforts, Kameny is considered one of the fathers of the gay rights movement. David Bianco is theautlior of "Gay Essentials," a collection of his history columns. He can be reached care of this publication or at il.com. 'itm mm n mt m uu n*„ BILLI0N MUAM * Prices May Vary. See Store far Details. ***# @n*Mfe -
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