Kameny papers exhibit opens at Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has added two documents “of major historical significance” from the papers of gay rights leader Frank Kameny to a widely viewed public exhibit about the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
The library quietly placed the Kameny documents on display at its Thomas Jefferson Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol in late April without publicly announcing the development.
On Monday, organizers of the Kameny Papers Project announced in a press release that the documents were on display as part of the library’s “Creating the United States” exhibit.
The release says inclusion of the Kameny documents represents the first time “the history of gay and lesbian Americans” has been included by the library “in the story of the Constitution and its evolution as a living instrument of freedom.”
In 2006, the Kameny Papers Project donated about 50,000 documents and artifacts to the Library of Congress on Kameny’s behalf that the gay rights pioneer had produced during his more than 50 years of work on behalf of LGBT equality. The documents and artifacts, such as gay rights protest signs from the 1960s, are available to researchers. Kameny, 85, began working on gay rights activities in the late 1950s.
One of the documents now on display at the Library of Congress is Kameny’s 1961 petition to the U.S. Supreme Court contesting a decision in 1957 by the then U.S. Army Map Service to fire him as a civilian astronomer because he was gay. The petition is the first such document ever filed before the Supreme Court pertaining to a civil rights violation based on sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court denied Kameny’s petition, upholding the longstanding policy of the then U.S. Civil Service Commission banning gays and lesbians from working for the federal government. The policy remained in effect until 1975.
The second Kameny document included in the library’s exhibit is the original copy of a 1966 letter from John W. Macy Jr., the then director of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, to the Mattachine Society of Washington, the city’s first gay rights group that Kameny founded in the early 1960s.
In the letter, Macy sought to justify the federal government’s ban on gay employees by citing “the revulsion of other employees by homosexual conduct.”
The two Kameny documents are scheduled to remain on display at the library until October.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Delaware gays celebrate as Markell signs civil unions
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell was scheduled to sign into law a sweeping civil unions bill late Wednesday after Blade deadline.
The signing was scheduled to take place at the World Café Live in Wilmington and a large celebration of local LGBT people was expected to follow.
The new law extends all state rights of marriage to same-sex couples in a civil union. The measure passed the Senate last month by a 25-15 vote.
D.C. Pride events set to begin this month
Events associated with D.C.’s two main LGBT pride festivals — D.C. Black Pride and Capital Pride — are set to begin this month, and organizers say they are looking forward to a record turnout from local and out-of-town participants.
As it has since its founding, Black Pride is set to take place Memorial Day weekend, with events beginning on Thursday, May 26, and ending Sunday, May 29, with the annual Black Pride Health and Wellness Festival. The festival will take place 1-7 p.m. at D.C.’s Fort Dupont Park located at Minnesota Avenue and F streets, S.E. The location represents a change from last year’s festival, which was held at the D.C. Convention Center.
A series of Black Pride workshops covering a wide variety of topics ranging from domestic violence and heath care to black youth and transgender acceptance in the black community is scheduled to take place 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, May 27, at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel at 14th and K streets, N.W.
A full list of Black Pride events can be viewed at dcblackpride.org.
The 36 annual Capital Pride celebration is set to take place June 2-12. The Capital Pride Parade will take place Saturday, June 11, and similar to past years, will begin at 23rd and P streets, N.W., travel around Dupont Circle to the 17 Street entertainment strip before ending at 14th Street, N.W., at Thomas Circle.
Also similar to past years, the Capital Pride Festival is set to take place 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, June 12 on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., near the U.S. Capitol.
A wide variety of Capital Pride events are scheduled for the week preceding the parade and festival, including a June 1 kick-off party and panel discussion at the National Press Club; a June 5 Pride in the Park event at Six Flags amusement park in Upper Marlboro, Md.; and a June 6 Spirituality in the Gay Community Town Hall meeting at the Hotel Palomar at 2121 P St., N.W.
A weekly “Pride Idol” singing contest, to be held every Wednesday night beginning May 11 at Cobalt bar at 17th and R Sts., N.W., is a new addition to the Capital Pride events. Organizers say a final winner in the ongoing singing contest will be selected June 8. The prize: a three-month lease for a new Saab automobile, which is being donated by Saab as part of the company’s sponsorship of Capital Pride.
A full list of Capital Pride events can be viewed at www.capitalpride.org.
These additional Pride events are set to take place in conjunction with Capital Pride and Black Pride:
• Asian Pacific Islander Pride, May 23, 6-8:30 p.m., Café Asia, 1720 I St., N.W.
• Trans Pride, June 4, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Metropolitan Community Church of D.C., 474 Ridge St., N.W.
• Latino Pride, June 10, 6-9 p.m., Town nightclub, 2009 8th St., N.W.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Director of Baltimore’s LGBT community center resigns
Craig Wiley, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) has resigned. He held the position for more than seven years and became the longest-tenured executive director in GLCCB history.
Wiley also served on the board of Centerlink: The Community of LGBT Centers. According to his bio on Centerlink, “Since joining the GLCCB he has systematically implemented expense-reduction strategies and indentified new and diverse revenue streams for the organization. Mr. Wiley has also fostered relationships with many organizational and community partners and municipal agencies, including the Baltimore City Health Department, the Baltimore Police Department, the Office of the Mayor, local colleges and universities, businesses, and nonprofits serving diverse constituencies that touch the LGBT community either directly or indirectly.”
“It is with regret that I write you to let you know Craig Wiley has stepped down as Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB),” GLCCB Board President Trevor Ankeny said in a statement. “Craig’s involvement with the GLCCB spanned more than a decade. From volunteering to serving as a board member to assuming the position of executive director, his support for the GLCCB has touched all facets of our work. In his role as executive director for the past seven years, Craig has tirelessly devoted himself to making the GLCCB a stronger institution so that we may better serve the community.”
In other Baltimore news, Trans-United Director Sandy Rawls has been named as Grand Marshall in the upcoming Baltimore Pride Parade, and Del. Mary Washington will be the Honorary Grand Marshall.