Kameny, Frank Papers

Span Dates: 1843-2012
Bulk Dates: 1970-1999
Volume: 65 linear feet


This collection documents Kameny's work as an activist, organizer, and counselor in the gay rights movement. Among the primarily secular records, it also includes some of the earliest records of nascent LGBTQ organizations within faith communities including Integrity, Lutherans Concerned, MCC, National Council of Churches of Christ in USA, Unitarian Universalist Gay Caucus, and the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH), CRH Washington, D.C., and CRH Southern California. The wider collection reflects the politicization of the gay rights movement as its priorities shifted from education and information to social action and legal reform. Documents Kameny's activities as cofounder and official of the Mattachine Society of Washington, involvement in District of Columbia politics, and work as administrative counsel in trials chiefly concerning discrimination in civil service employment, military service discharges, and security clearance issues.

Hist/Bio Note

1925, May 21 Born, New York, N.Y. 1943-1946 Served in U.S. Army during World War II with combat duty in Germany 1956 Ph.D. in astronomy, Harvard University, Boston, Mass. 1957 Dismissed from the U.S. Army Map Service on charges of homosexual activity 1957-1961 Appealed dismissal through government review boards and the federal courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court which declined his appeal for review 1961 Founded the Mattachine Society of Washington 1962-1990s Served as counsel or representative for applicants charged with homosexual activity before a variety of federal administrative review boards, specializing in federal employment, security clearance, and military discharge cases 1963 Began campaigning for the removal of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual of mental disorders (delisted in 1973), the reversal of the U.S. Civil Service Commission's exclusion of homosexuals from federal employment (ban lifted in 1975), the revocation of the District of Columbia's sodomy laws (repealed in 1993), and the retraction of policies denying national security clearances to homosexuals (completed in 1995) Cofounded the East Coast Homophile Organizations, an alliance of homophile organizations focused on legal reforms and education 1965 Led first public protests for gay rights at the White House; expanded the picketing to include the Pentagon, State Department, and the U.S. Civil Service Commission Organized first of several annual July 4th demonstrations for gay rights at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pa. 1968 Coined and promoted the slogan “Gay Is Good” 1971 Campaigned for the District of Columbia's nonvoting delegate seat as the first openly gay candidate for the U.S. Congress; following the election, the campaign committee formed the Gay Activist Alliance of Washington D.C. 1972 Delegate, Democratic National Convention 1973 Founding board member, National Gay Task Force 1975 Appointed as a commissioner on the District of Columbia's Commission on Human Rights 1977 Attended White House meeting as one of several representatives from the National Gay Task Force 1978 Alternate to Mid-Term Democratic Convention 1981 Delegate, District of Columbia Statehood Constitutional Convention 1988 Received the Durfee Award 2011, Oct. 11 Died, Washington, D.C.

Finding Aid

A finding aid is available online.


This collection is located at the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


Washington, D.C. | MCC | Unitarian Universalists for LGBT Concerns | Integrity | Dignity | Council on Religion and the Homosexual