New Delhi: The Google Doodle on Wednesday honours American astronomer, veteran, and gay rights activist Dr. Frank Kameny, widely hailed as one of the most prominent figures of the U.S. LGBTQ rights movement.
Franklin Edward Kameny was born in Queens, New York, on May 21, 1925. Gifted from a young age, Kameny enrolled at Queens College to study physics at just 15 years old. He saw combat during World War II and upon his return to the U.S. obtained a doctorate in astronomy at Harvard University. In 1957, Kameny accepted a job as an astronomer with the Army Map Service, but he was fired just months later based on an executive order effectively barring members of the LGBTQ community from federal employment.
In response to his termination, Kameny sued the federal government and in 1961 filed the first gay rights appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Denied but undeterred, Kameny embarked upon a lifelong fight for equal rights. Years before the Stonewall Riots, he organized one of the country’s first gay rights advocacy groups. In the early ‘70s, he also successfully challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and in 1975, the Civil Service Commission finally reversed its ban on LGBTQ employees.
In 2009, over 50 years after his dismissal, Kameny received a formal apology from the U.S. government. In June 2010, Washington D.C. named a stretch of 17th Street NW near Dupont Circle “Frank Kameny Way” in his honor.