Karen Ocamb

Tributes Honoring LGBT Hero Frank Kameny Continue

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 14, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, The Movement
Tags: Frank Kameny, Katherine Ott, LGBT hero, Library of Congress, memorial, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian

frank-kameny-and-mattachine-society-of-washington-members-marching-1970.jpegThere's a line in an old post-World War II song that goes: "What do you do with a general when he stops being a general?" LGBT hero Frank Kameny - who died on Tuesday, National Coming Out Day - was a four star general in the ongoing fight for civil rights and LGBT equality - and he never stopped being a general, he never really retired.

One indication of how he secured his own legacy, and therefore the early milestones of the LGBT movement, was by having his memorabilia donated to and curated by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Katherine Ott, the open lesbian Curator in the Smithsonian's Division of Medicine and Science, wrote a post about Kameny for the Museum's blog:

Frank Kameny, who died yesterday, was one of those Americans whom few people have heard of but who spent his time on the planet making the kind of good trouble that benefitted all of us. Kameny devoted his life to furthering civil rights, most especially for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people.

While he received recognition from many individuals and groups for his work, we in the museum hold a special place for those who not only make history but also preserve it along the way. The museum had the good fortune of being the recipient of some of his protest material. Kameny donated objects a few years ago and one poster is currently on display in the exhibition, The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden. His papers are at the Library of Congress, where some are also on display.

(Cross-posted at LGBT POV)

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