Bil Browning

When Past Meets Present

Filed By Bil Browning | October 23, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Dan Choi, Frank Kameny, gays in the military, Smithsonian Institute

Dr. Franklin Kameny, World War II veteran and lifelong civil rights activist, with West Point grad and former U.S. Army infantryman Dan Choi. The two activists seeking repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" joined forces at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on Friday, October 15 to witness the hanging of Dr. Kameny's picket sign carried nearly a half-century ago in protests in Washington D.C. declaring "Homosexual Citizens Want to Serve Their Country Too." (Photo credit: Marvin Carter)


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Love that our history is being enshrined- finally.

Regan DuCasse | October 23, 2010 8:23 PM

LOVE it! Two soldiers in the trenches for the rights of others.

I have a picture of me and Morris Kight together at a vigil. I treasure it. We talked about my uncle and his founding of the LA chapter of CORE and Morris had joined it back in the day.

I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I thought that Lt. Dan could be the Dr. King of the gay civil rights movement.
He's just as well spoken, youthful...handsome and with a record of serving this country, even though he hasn't had the same rights as those he protected and fought for.
I love and admire him and Brother Kameny more than I can say.

If any of you are in Los Angeles, I'd LOVE to show you the ONE Institute that archives LGBT history and achievement.
And the Simon Weisenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance.

Inspiring places...both of them.

What have we gained in 50 years, at least in this arena? I'm proud to see the bridging of generations. I love this picture. I'm linking it on Facebook.

Nice post Bil. While I am a pacifist unless the country is truly threatened I also believe no one should be excluded from service to the country.

Erica Keppler | October 24, 2010 12:07 AM

It shows how long civil rights struggles take. It was 100 years from legal slavery in America to the 1964 Civil Rights act. It was 70 years from the start of the Women's Suffrage movement to the signing of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. In fact, it takes so long to carry out a civil rights effort that one must wonder if the effort is what won the rights, or did the passage of time just bring about a natural change in cultural attitude? Would cultural attitudes ever have changed without the effort to change them? Realistically, it's a combination of the two, but in the end, rational, reasonable calls for justice and equality fall on deaf ears until the culture is ready to receive them. First you have to change the culture, then you can win your rights.

I'm so glad that Dan managed to join Uncle Frank to commemorate the displaying of Frank's historic poster.

This was not the first time Frank and Dan met. They both spoke the day before the National Equality March a year ago at a DADT protest and memorial to Frank's protege, T.Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, who started the legal fight against the ban by outing himself to the Air Force 35 years ago. (I had the honor to be a friend of Matt's during the last 13 years of his life.)

For videos of both their remarks that day, as well as those of David Mixner, Rev. Troy Perry, and others, click [_here_]