Kameny House Gets Historic Listing
Frank Kameny was among the most influential gay rights pioneers of our time. That’s why the National Park Service (NPS) has recognized his home in Washington D.C., by listing it on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Dr. Kameny led a newly militant activism in the fledgling gay civil rights of the 1960s,” says NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “He was a landmark figure in articulating and achieving gay civil rights in federal employment and security clearance cases, and in reversing the medical community’s view on homosexuality as a mental disorder.”
Kameny’s efforts in the civil rights movement, modeled, in part, on African-American civil rights strategies and tactics, significantly altered the rights, perceptions and role of LGBT people in American society throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. And while the pioneer has strong ties to Philly – he organized the first gay rights protest at Independence Hall in the early 60s, several years before the Stonewall Riot in New York City, considered by many to be the turning point for gay rights in this country – he spent much of his life living and working in D.C.
In 1961, Kameny co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, an organization committed to achieving equal social and legal rights for homosexuals through activism and education. For years, his residence at 5020 Cathedral Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C., served as a meeting place, archive, informal counseling center, headquarters of the Mattachine Society and a safe haven for visiting gay and lesbian activists. It was here where Kameny developed the civil rights strategies and tactics that have come to define the modern gay rights movement.