BY REGINA GALVIN, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Fifty-seven years after Frank Kameny, a Harvard
university graduate with a Ph.D. in astronomy, was barred from federal
government employment for his sexual orientation, he is being honored by
the U.S. Department of Labor with an induction to its Hall of Honor
June 23, in Washington, D.C.
The DOL established the Hall of Honor in 1988 to honor Americans whose
distinctive contributions in the field of labor elevated working
conditions, wages and overall quality of life of America’s working
families, according to an agency spokesperson.
In 1958, U.S. Civil Service Commission investigators asked Kameny if he
was homosexual. He told them it was none of their business and he was
subsequently fired. At the time of his dismissal, Frank Kameny worked
for the U.S. Army Mapping Agency, a legacy agency of the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Kameny fought the injustice, eventually
taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied his petition in
“Frank Kameny dedicated his life to ending discriminatory employment
practices based on sexual orientation,” said Tish Tucker, deputy
director of NGA’s corporate communications and senior champion for NGA’s
LBGTA Alliance. “He showed remarkable courage and integrity by
challenging the misguided cultural beliefs of that time that gay people
shouldn’t serve in the federal government.”
The cultural consequences of Kameny’s activism and inspiration on the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community is profound according
to Heather Hoipkemier, NGA’s co-lead for the LGBTA Council.
For example, in 1995, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order
12968, ending the ban on security clearances for gay workers.
“That wouldn’t have happened without the activism Frank Kameny began,” said Hoipkemier.
“Without Frank’s efforts, the acceptance of the LGBT community within
the IC [intelligence community] wouldn’t be where it is today.”