Google Doodle honors Frank Kameny, astronomer-turned-activist, for Pride Month

Astronomer-turned-activist fought homophobia and discrimination.

Google Doodle honors Frank Kameny, astronomer-turned-activist, for Pride Month

Google Doodle marked the second day of Pride Month (June 2) by observing an astronomer, Frank Kameny, who lost his job due to homophobia and invested the rest of his life fighting discrimination.

Born in Queens, New York, Kameny began studying physics in college at only 15, based on Google. After joining the Army during World War II when he was 17, he returned into the U.S. in 1946 and finished undergraduate coursework in physics, then earned master's and doctoral levels in astronomy at Harvard. His study there focused on analyzing light from celebrities and planets.

However in 1957, Kameny chose a job with his archery abilities for the U.S. Army Map Service -- then was fired shortly after when he refused to answer questions about his sexual orientation, in accordance with this National Park Service, which lists his Washington, D.C., dwelling on its own register of historic sites. He never got another full-time job with his mathematics credentials, according to a biography contained in agency records .

Kameny struggled with poverty while protesting his job loss, which culminated in filing with the Supreme Court, which declined the situation. His legal objections to his occupation loss based on his sexual orientation are the first on government document.

At the moment, homophobia was common along with the federal government had anti-LGBTQ policies amounting to a"Lavender Scare," in parallel to the more notorious anti-communist Red Scare. Historians estimate that more than 5,000 federal workers lost their jobs due to these measures.

In particular, Kameny fell afoul of President Dwight Eisenhower's Executive Order 10450, which included being gay among a number of different variables as possible security risks. At the time, the American Psychiatric Association also categorized being homosexual as a mental illness. Kameny said that the classification was established in"shabby, shoddy, sloppy, sleazy pseudo-science" and"moral, cultural and theological value conclusions concealed and camouflaged from the terminology of science without any of the material of science."

"We chose on reform of the government as one of their prime goals," Kameny said in a 2003 interview. Among other actions, the team organized pickets in front of the White House.

The Library of Congress now owns more than 55,000 files pertaining to Kameny's life of activism, where he coined the slogan"Gay is Good." In 1971, he became the very first out candidate for Congress, when the District of Columbia first gained a non-voting member. With his own experience and informal legal practice, he battled for others on the receiving end of Lavender Scare policies.

Specifically, Kameny fought to reform reevaluate safety clearance policies and military draft policies. He also studies the American Psychiatric Association to quit substituting LGBTQ identities as psychological ailments, which the association did in 1973. Federal employment discrimination based on sexual orientation was banned only in 1998.

According to an obituary printed in the Washington Post after his departure in 2011, Kameny once considered becoming an astronaut, saying,"I might have gone to the moon"

To date, no active astronaut in NASA's corps has openly identified as a part of the LGBTQ community. (Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was after her departure recognized as homosexual by her long-time spouse; in 2019, busy NASA astronaut Anne McClain was accused of inappropriately getting her former spouse's bank account from space after their divorce.)

Updated Date: 04 June 2021, 07:10

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