The Google Doodle on Wednesday honours Dr Frank Kameny, an American astronomer, World War II veteran and gay rights activist. The picture on its homepage, which shows Kameny wearing a colourful garland, pays tribute to him as we enter the month of June, which is celebrated globally as ‘Pride Month’.
Google describes Kameny as “on of the most prominent figures of the US LGBTQ rights movement” and thanks him “for courageously paving the way for decades of progress”.
Kameny was born on May 21, 1925 in Queens, New York. He enrolled at Queens College at the young age of 15 to study physics. Kameny fought in World War II before obtaining a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University. In 1957, he became an astronomer with the Army Map Service, but lost his job a few months later after the government banned members of the LGBTQ community from federal employment.
Kameny sued the government, and in 1961, filed the first gay rights appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Kameny organised one of the first gay rights advocacy groups in the US. In the early 1970s, he challenged the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Over 50 years after he was fired from the Army Map Service, the US government, in 2009, formally apologised to Kameny.
In June 2010, Washington D.C. named a stretch of 17th Street NW near Dupont Circle “Frank Kameny Way”.
Kameny died on October 11, 2011 in Washington D.C.