Sunday, March 18, 2012

Out Spotlight

Today's Spotlight is was "one of the most significant figures" in the American gay rights movement. He brought the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation before the United States Supreme Court. Advocate and Astronomer, today's Out Spotlight is Frank Kameny.

Franklin Edward Kameny was born to Ashkenazi Jewish parents in New York City on May 21, 1925. He attended Richmond Hill High School and graduated in 1941, at age of 16. Kameny went on to Queens College for physics, he was drafted into the United States Army during college. He served in the Army throughout World War II in Europe.

After leaving the Army, he returned to Queens College continue with his education and graduated with a baccalaureate in physics in 1948. Kameny then enrolled at Harvard University for a Master's Degree. While a teaching fellow at Harvard, he refused to sign a loyalty oath without attaching qualifiers, and exhibited a skepticism against accepted orthodoxies. He graduated with both a masters' degree (1949) and doctorate (1956) in astronomy.

While on a cross-country return trip from Tucson, where he had just completed his research for his Ph.D. thesis, he was arrested in San Francisco by plainclothes police officers after a stranger had approached and groped him at the bus terminal. He was promised that his criminal record would be expunged after serving three years' probation, relieving him from worrying about his employment prospects and any attempt at fighting the charges.

Relocating to Washington, D.C., Kameny taught for a year in the Astronomy Department of Georgetown University and was hired in July 1957 by the United States Army Map Service. However, by the fall, he was in trouble with the Civil Service Commission following a late night run-in with police in Lafayette Park, a traditional cruising area along Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House. He was arrested. Kameny was questioned by his superiors but he refused to give them information regarding his sexual orientation. Kameny was fired by the Commission soon afterward. In January 1958, he was barred from future employment by the federal government.

Rather than accept a common practice of the times, he fought for his rights. He successfully challenged anti-gay policies of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the US Department of Defense and the US Civil Service Commission.

Kameny sued the Army Map Service and lost his case. On appeal he lost again, and after the Supreme Court denied his petition to direct the case to be reconsidered, he realized his objectives would require a broader movement.

In 1961, Kameny co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C with Gay Pioneer Jack Nichols.

Kameny was the first to bring open activism to the gay rights movement. The D.C. Mattachine Society contacted public officials to attempt to change policy. They published a newsletter, The Gazette, and campaigned to overturn security clearance denials, employment restrictions and dismissals of gay men from the Federal workforce.

In 1963, Kameny began a movement to repeal sodomy laws and challenge the APA's classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

On April 17, 1965, Kameny led the first public picket for gay rights at the White House. With support from the Daughters of Bilitis, the Mattachine Society extended its protest to the Pentagon and the Civil Service Commission. He helped launch the first organized gay and lesbian demonstrations for equality. These seminal demonstrations by activists from New York, Philadelphia and Washingon D.C. were held annually each July 4th at Independence Hall from 1965 to 1969 and were called annual reminders. Those protest paved the way for the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

Inspired by Stokely Carmichael's "Black is Beautiful," Kameny dubbed the phrase "Gay is Good" as a slogan for the movement. He led the fight for gay rights into the 1970s and ran for Congress in 1971 on an equal rights platform. The APA removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973 and the Civil Service Commission lifted its ban on homosexuality in 1975, an action President Bill Clinton formalized many years later.

In 2000, Equality Forum with WHYY/PBS produced the documentary film "Gay Pioneers" about Kameny and other early activists. In 2006, the Library of Congress incorporated over 70,000 letters, documents and memorabilia from Frank Kameny into its permanent collection.

The Washington, D.C. City Council honored Kameny in 2007, hailing him as a "true freedom fighter."

On June 10, 2010, following a unanimous vote by the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Washington, D. C. mayor Adrian Fenty unveiled new street signs designating 17th Street between P and R streets, N.W., as "Frank Kameny Way" in Kameny's honor. At a luncheon on December 10, 2010 in the Caucus room of the Cannon House Office Building, Kameny was honored with the 2010 Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award.

Kameny was seated at the front row of the gathering where President Barack Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. Kameny was a member of Triangle Foundation's Board of Advisors.

Frank Kameny passed away October 11, 2011.

Following Kameny's death, the giant rainbow flag on the tall flagpole at the corner of Market Street and Castro Street in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco was flown at half-staff for 24 hours beginning on the afternoon of October 12, 2011 at the request of the creator of the rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker.

On November 2, 2011, Kameny's house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The momentum is there, and that's not going to be stopped. It's moved from hopes of a grass-roots movement, to the actuality of a grass-roots movement. And it's taken 40 years to do it."


destiny said...

Thanks for making it clear that I'm still welcome to express myself here Special, because your earlier comment left me with the exact opposite feeling.

I have very different views about what is going on with J&A than you, M&M, M, PG and others have, and I'm pretty sure there are others who believe that things have changed with J&A too, people who are also not trolls.

AUS10 said...

So apparently there were some strange DM's. I did not send those. But I sent out a bunch of good ones. Those were from me. Cheers, big ears
4:05 PM

H said...

Although I've been visiting OMG since the beginning, I lurk more than I post for various reasons.

I believe that J and A are both gay and that they used to be a couple (I am undecided if I think they still are). I don't believe they have any children.

With WFT2 now lost to the trolls, there really is no where else for JIG believers, like me, to go other than OMG.

I don't think there was anything wrong with what Crossroads posted in the previous thread and I agree with a lot of it. I don't think he/she was trying to destroy OMG at all, in fact I think the opposite. I think they were asking if there would be a place here for people, like me, who don't share the same views as the main regular posters and I really hope there is.

Toothy and Goose Believer said...

Why do people keep stopping by and stating that they don't believe Jake and Austin are together and they don't have children? This is a Jake and Austin community yet I'm getting the distinct vibration that the old timers are no longer welcomed. How in the heck did that happen?

How about this as an idea. Why don't those refugees from Waiting for Toothy start your own blog that's dedicated to Jake just being gay. There's a reason why this blog was started back in 2007. Jake and Austin believers were not welcomed over at WFT. So Special took the time to create her own blog. And, now you want to change it so you can have your own little playground and squeeze out the Jake and Austin folks again? I don't speak for Special, but I would be terribly disappointed if that were to occur.

Just Passing By said...

I only recently discovered OMG. When I did I mainly lurk in order to get a real sense of the mood and feeling of the blog. The one thing that I admired the most about this blog was the openness in which you - the posters - was able to express themselves freely in regards to Jake and Austin in both their private lives as well in their professional lives. That's something that rarely - I and do mean RARELY - happens on other blogs about Jake Gyllenhaal.

Most blogs discussing him gives off this impression that Jake must be worship like a God and any criticism about him is not welcome. I mean they the play the game that all comments are welcome but the truth is: no it isn't. You say one thing that could be even looked upon as a negative, you're going to have a thousand and one other posters attacking you as if you committed this horrible injustice to the precious Jake.

The thing that I love so much about OMG, and most of the main posters who write comments here, is that it's clear Jake is adore on this blog, but thankfully he isn't looked upon through rose-colored glasses. They see the good but they also see the bad and ugly. And I like that. Mainly because we have a better chance at having a more honest discussion about Jake without the real sense at feeling you'll be attack for saying something that could be regarded as a negative.

I read all the comments from the last thread and I must say I was surprise at just how heated it became. Plenty of times I've read discussions on this blog in which posters disagreed but there was always a strong level of respect on whatever side you maybe on. I hope we return to that - and I'm sure we will. Like any family we have our moments in which things explodes. But after the dust settles everything goes back to normal. I'm sure that will happen here.

As fo Jake's sexuality, I'll be honest, I don't think he's gay. But I don't have a problem with other posters who believes he is gay and I certainly don't have a problem with them discussing it. I mean why should it bother me? I never understood why other posters feel it's necessary to attack those posters who do believe Jake is gay. And that also goes for the other way around as well. If someone believes he isn't gay I don't understand why they should be attack for feeling that.

The reality is NONE of us know the true Jake Gyllenhaal. He could be gay, he could be straight or bisexual. He could be a really nice guy or a true bastard or somewhere in between. Personally I do think he's somewhere in between. What we all have basically are opinions. No real facts. Just strong beliefs. And there's no problem with that. Just as long we respect the posters's opinions who may feel differently from our own.

I mainly come here because I feel more free to discuss Jake's career in a more honest matter because I can't do it anywhere else.

Beating a dead horse said...

My opinion is that this blog should be private invite only.

What does that mean? You want the blog not to be public? Then I would ask why would that be? Maybe because you want to stop discussion on topics that you do not like or find uncomfortable. Since you have that point of view, why are you posting here? Again, this is a Jake and Austin blog. I know I don't frequent websites or blogs that don't reflect my values or my belief system.

Jake's Career said...

It's hard to currently talk about Jake's career, when he himself doesn't care about having one. I wouldn't blame OMG for that. Go to Jake and ask why he's not working.

Jake and Austin Follower said...

"That makes for very uneven discussion if those that believe in the holy trinity aren't willing to cede on any of their preconceptions"

Why should OMGers be made to feel they should change or relent on their views? This is a blog focused on Jake and Austin.

the real m said...

Well I missed all the discussion again. Tied up with chores. My opinion is that I am thrilled to see new commenters, provided that they use the same name or identity each time they comment. I am immediately suspicious of anyone who switches names with each comment. If you have an opinion, I respect your right to state it. But if you won't even stick to an identity then all bets are off. I do think that wft2 has become one person talking to themselves. I looked earlier today and there were over 3000 comments. Who has time to wade through that? But that does make OMG an easy target since we are the only jake and austin group. And that is why we must be on guard for attacks.

prairiegirl said...

Rock. Chalk.

Special K said...

Everyone is welcome at OMG and welcome to comment, but please note this is a Jake and Austin blog, so there will be discussion about Jake and Austin as a couple, and their family.

You don't have to agree, but be respective of that and those who do. Ridicule of those theorizing or talking about it will not be tolerated.

There are other places that are about Jake and about Austin respectively but only place about them being together. That is this place. Please be mindful of that.

Saying that, everyone needs to be respective of others. It goes both ways.

And for those who respectively don't agree about Jake and Austin and participate on OMG, please give them the same courtesy.

This is a really unique place with a lot of really great people, let's keep it going.