Frank Kameny

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The Gay Crusaders
"Our presence there was only the beginning of an increasingly intensive campaign by homosexuals to change the approach of psychiatry toward homosexuality or, failing that, to discredit psychiatry."
— Frank Kameny, a letter to the Psychiatric News[1][2]

Frank Kameny has been a long-time homosexual activist and self-described atheist[3] who has had a long career advocating the removal of any restrictions on human acts long considered by sane societies as obscene, dangerous, and disordered.[4] He was a champion of a new militancy in the fledging homosexual “rights” movement of the early 1960s and founder and president of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. (MSW),[3] a pressure group advancing Homosexual Agenda. His claim to fame is successfully manipulating the American Psychiatric Association (APA) into declassifying homosexuality, under pressure from gay activists,[3] as a mental disorder[4] and he was declared “in many ways, America’s first gay activist.”

Kameny's tactic and strategy aiming to change the society

In order to launch the first challenge to moral normatives related to sexual behavior and to associated policies adopted by United States Federal Government, Kameny employed tactics including 'zapping the shrinks', publicity based on Emotionally manipulative ad campaigns, staged court suits, lobbying, public demonstrations, and organized harassments directed at specific opponents. In his effort to manipulate the public opinion about the nature of homosexuality, he took inspiration from the black Civil Rights movement and redefined homosexuality, traditionally considered a moral or mental health problem, into a civil liberties issue. He misinterpreted the traditional constitutional values such as liberty and pursuit of hapiness and gave them radically new and twisted meanings - to be vehicles for sexual anarchy. In line with tenets of moral relativism, he misrepresented the group of people indulging in the sexual misconduct as marginalized "minority" that deserves public protection and special privileges. For this purpose, MSW lobbied the local affiliate of ACLU, government officials, distributed press releases, and testified before committees. Exploiting the know-how on marketing trickery, Kameny was focusing primarily on emotions and avoided attempts to engage in usage of rational arguments or in educating audience. Thus, unlike earlier groups that had sponsored debates by medical authorities on the causes or problems of homosexuality, Kameny took strong pro-gay stands that were based on bare assertions like the one from Jack Nichols of MSW that homosexuality is "a preference, orientation, a propensity, on a par with, and not different in any kind from, heterosexuality"; and at the same time orchestrated a series of test "discrimination" cases in the courts. In 1965, he also helped organize a series of gay pickets in front of White House and other government buildings in the Washington, D.C.. In order to minimize the influence of the negative scientific data on homosexual behavior, he realized he needed to mask them by adopting positive labels. That's why by 1968 he coined the slogan "Gay is Good" that was consciously mimicking the often chanted motto "Black is beautiful."

Kameny spread his activist agenda across the country by giving speeches, radicalizing existing gay organizations and helping a myriad of new groups to emerge in other cities. Kameny ventured into local politics and became the first openly gay person to run for Congress. He used the elections to increase the publicity for his "personal freedoms" platform and to politicize the local gay community. After the lost elections, Kameny's campaign committee reorganized into Gay Activists Alliance (GAA).

In the 1990s, Kameny formed a corporation in Washington, D.C., under the name of "Traditional Values Coalition," thereby preventing a California-based pro-family organization of the same name from operating in the city.[3]


  1. Robert R. Reilly (2014). Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything. Ignatius Press, 120. ISBN 978-15861-78338. 
  2. Kay Tobin, Randy Wicker (1975). The Gay Crusaders. Arno Press, 131. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 David De Leon (1994). Leaders from the 1960s: A Biographical Sourcebook of American Activism. Greenwood Publishing Group, 253–259. ISBN 978-03132-74145. “Early on Kameny developed an absolute belief in the validity of his intellectual processes and a habit of challenging accepted orthodoxies.” 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Peter J. Smith (4 Jun 2008). Prominent Homosexual Activist Says Bestiality OK "As Long as the Animal Doesn’t Mind". Retrieved on 13 December 2015.

See also