Members of the military gathered at Congressional Cemetery alongside members of the gay and lesbian community to honor a World War II veteran many credit with being the father of the gay rights movement.
A new headstone honoring Frank Kameny’s life and legacy was unveiled this Veterans Day.
“He was the single most important and most influential person in the history of the gay rights movement,” long-time friend Paul Kuntzler said.
Kameny, who is credited with coining the phrase “gay is good,” lied about being gay so he could serve in WWII.
After being fired from his job with the federal government for being gay, Kameny began a decades-long crusade for equal rights for gays and lesbians.
“More than any one person, Frank was responsible for ending the ban on gay employment in the federal government and for reversing the American Psychiatric Association’s position that homosexuality was a mental illness,” Kuntzler said
In 1974, Kameny sought a member of the military who would be willing to come out in order to test the legality of gay service. Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich went public with his sexuality, appearing on the cover of Time magazine.
Wednesday’s ceremony at Congressional on Capitol Hill honored both men.
Kameny died in 2011.