Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where is Frank Kameny's

Presidential Medal of Freedom?

(From this famous October 1967 picket outside the White House, with Kameny, second from the right, demanding justice ... )

( ... to June 2009, and Frank is inside the White House, shaking the president's hand, Kameny is living proof of the power of activism.)

I think the time has come to mount a unity campaign on behalf of honoring longtime gay advocate Frank Kameny with the country's highest civilian award, so I sent this note off to Brian Bond, a gay man who works in the public liaison office at the White House.

If anyone should know, or be keen to learn, how to persuade the president to bestow the Medal of Freedom on Frank, it is Bond.
Hi Brian,

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will be perpetually indebted to the pioneering advocacy of Dr. Franklin E. Kameny, considered by many Americans to a founding father of the modern gay movement, an assessment I hope you share with me.

As you know, Frank has been active and fighting for the full liberation of gay people since the 1950s when he was denied employment by the federal government because of he was openly gay and proud, and he's still alive and thriving.

I met Frank in early 1990 when I moved to DC to help co-found an ACT UP chapter, and we quickly got into an argument. It was over AIDS protests my belief that there weren't enough of them. We soon became allies, even though he didn't always approve of my tactics, and he never refused my requests for his advice.

He took a grandfatherly approach in his dealings with me, and his sage guidance on pushing levers within the Pentagon when I was demanding attention for murdered gay sailor Allen Schindler, greatly assisted delivering justice from the US Navy.

I'm just one of millions of LGBT Americans whose life and liberation has been directly aided and abetted by Frank's life and ceaseless political work, and I'd like to see him properly honored by our president.

Every time I've seen images of Frank with President Barack Obama in the White House these past few months, I've thanked the gay gods for America's progress on accepting and celebrating her LGBT citizens, but the photos also raise a question I want you to address.

Where is Frank Kameny's Presidential Medal of Freedom?

This medal, our nation's highest civilian honor, has been awarded to many worthy Americans according to US Senate records, but I can't find the same of a single openly LGBT person on the list of recent honorees.

Why not feed two birds with one seed? Let's get the president to bestow the medal on Frank for his unparallelled contributions upholding American civic values and cherishing diversity, and make him the first openly gay American given this award.

I can't think of one honest reason why Frank should be denied the Medal of Freedom and look forward to working with the White House to making sure he receives this honor in the near future.

Get back to me soon, please, and let's make this happen for Frank, and his generation of LGBT pioneering American patriots.

Best regards,

1 comment:

Kevin Foley said...

and the response?