3 october 1968 & gay is good
#OTD 3 October 1968 Frank Kameny, president of the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, a organization he co-founded with other whites in 1961 to fight for “homosexual rights,” sent a letter to the U.S. Civil Service Commission demanding that it end its heterosexual-only policy in the military.
Frank Kameny is also credited with coming up with the slogan, “Gay is Good.” He modeled it after “Black is Beautiful.”
Kameny wrote in a letter dated 19 June 1968:
“The other day, on television, I saw Stokely Carmichael before a group of Negroes almost chanting “Black is Beautiful”. Within our somewhat different framework, we need the same kind of thing. Our people need to have our self-esteem bolstered—singly and as a community.”
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, a family member or neighbor know Frank Kameny? Were you active in queer organizing and politics in 1968? Were you in the military in 1968? Did you work at the US Civil Service Commission? Do you have photographs or ephemera? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy Frank Kameny Papers, n.d. frankkameny.org. Fair use.
See the Rainbow History Project’s online exhibition on the Mattachine Society.
See a 1970 photo of Frank Kameny holding “Gay is Good” poster with other activists.
Michael G. Long, ed. Gay is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Frank Kameny 2014.