Medal of Freedom Honorees
(Kameny shaking the President's hand in June 2009, in the Oval Office. Credit: The White House.)
In death, I thought gay pioneer Frank Kameny would be palatable to President Obama when deciding this year's Medal of Freedom recipients. Well, our Less-than-Fierce Advocate-in-Chief announced the latest batch of awardees yesterday and Kameny's name was omitted.
My thinking was that the White House would not risk giving this gay icon the award while he was alive, because he might go off-script at the reception and ceremony for the honorees and say something to anger the administration, but once he had passed on Obama would give him this award. I was wrong.
Our lame Democratic Party gay leadership at the Human Rights Campaign issued a release lauding Obama choosing longtime gay ally and labor advocate Dolores Huerta as a recipient, and failed to express disappointment that Kameny was not posthumously selected along with Huerta. Foolish of me to even think HRC could praise the president, salute Huerta and advocate for Kameny getting the Medal of Freedom if Obama is reelected.
It's disappointing to see over at the American Foundation for Equal Rights site, that president Chad Griffin who soon takes the helm at HRC, also failed to say he and his group would have liked for Obama to also honor Kameny. Huerta is a member of AFER's board, and she certainly is worthy of the medal, but I would have been impressed if Griffin broke with the Gay Inc/HRC tradition of not using every opportunity to advance gay heroes and issues with the White House.
Not only is it a shame Obama didn't award Kameny the Medal of Freedom in 2012, it's equally troubling that HRC and AFER expended no energy and resources fiercely advocating on Kameny's behalf.
Kameny and his legacy more than deserve the Presidential Medal of Freedom.