It’s our second day of Pride, and if you’ve had a chance to check out today’s Google Doodle, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you see.
Astronomer, veteran, and civil rights icon Dr. Frank Kameny made waves in the military long before “don’t ask, don’t tell” was a household phrase.
In celebration of Pride Month, today’s #GoogleDoodle honors astronomer, veteran, & gay rights activist, Dr. Frank Kameny—an influential figure in the LGBTQ rights movement 🔭🌈❤️
→ https://t.co/7gcVY14Jdi pic.twitter.com/jprSZhKeN1
— Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) June 2, 2021
Kameny, a scientist who’d held down jobs at both Harvard and Georgetown Universities, was ousted from his job as an astronomer for the Army Map Service after higher-ups discovered reports of Kameny’s queer background.
Frank Kameny: Google doodle honours astronomer and gay rights activist https://t.co/KT9bikEo29 pic.twitter.com/pq3qrZH8jJ
— New Scientist (@newscientist) June 2, 2021
What did Kameny do? He didn’t take it lying down. In 1961, he filed the first known appeal for gay rights, taking his wrongful termination to the Supreme Court. In the late 60s, he started the Washington, D.C. branch of the Mattachine Society, the groundbreaking gay rights group that fought to normalize queerness in the years before Stonewall.
The Library holds the papers of civil rights activist Frank Kameny, today’s Google doodle. Read this account of his leadership in the first organized White House picket for gay rights in 1965. https://t.co/HYnDM3pLSo #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/eLtwNMO9fr
— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) June 2, 2021
Kameny didn’t get his job back, but he did set an important precedent. And he didn’t stop there. In the 70s, he called out American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. “We’re not the problem,” he shouted in front of an audience assembled an APA Washington conference, “You’re the problem.” Dr. Kameny finally won the recognition he deserved in 2009, in the form of an apology from the U.S. Government. He died in 2011 at 86. In 2019, Kameny was one of the first fifty people to be honored on the Wall of Honor of the Stonewall 50 memorial.