A brave soul transitioned yesterday, 11 October 2011. In true Frank fashion, he left us on National Coming Out Day here in the U.S.
Rev. Troy Perry, Founder, remembers Dr. Kameny:
In 1969, I met Dr. Kameny, who was a hero in what we then called the “homophile” movement. I was impressed with his clear conviction that civil rights should be afforded to everyone. Through all the changes in history in the years since the 1950s, when he was outed and then became an activist, he continued the fight, and he was always a supporter of the ministry of MCC.
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, recalls:
Dr. Frank Kameny was a fearless pioneer for gay rights, in the days before Stonewall. I met Dr. Kameny when he and the late Barbara Gittings came to speak at Allegheny College, when I was 19 years old, over 40 years ago. Their courage astounded me, even as I struggled to understand how their story was my story.
I was still closeted then, even to myself, but their honest, open telling of their stories was the first clue I had that there were others like me. There are not adequate words to express the impact on my life of their visit to our small, liberal arts, religiously-connected school. I know that Dr. Kameny was the first publically open gay man that many of us ever met.
Dr. Kameny faced unbelievable discrimination, scorn, and opposition, but he became single-minded in his devotion to civil rights. He and others picketed the White House in 1965 and pushed to have the American Psychiatric Association stop labeling gay people as mentally ill. Along with Rev. Troy Perry, and a handful of others, his courage and determination changed the world for all of us.
Later I met Dr. Kameny again, as I became involved in the leadership of MCC. Though not a religious person, he was always very respectful of the role of MCC. ‘May his memory be for a blessing.’
All of the people in MCC around the world today owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Kameny, and together we mourn his passing.