The following was submitted as a letter to the editor. Visit washingtonblade.com to join the discussion.
What did Frank Kameny mean to me? An acquaintance, a rebel, an activist, a friend, a hero, a person who refused to accept life had to be a certain way. He was convinced that “Gay is Good” and he believed that to his core. He lived a lifetime of being angry at injustice. He did not take “no” for an answer. In his final years this refusal to accept “no” could make him a pain, and challenging with regard to his personal life. But, it was who he was. How can we thank him for this trait one day and criticize him the next? While we may have not understood, we could accept it was his way.
He was a hero and a friend. His final voicemail message to me was “How are you Marvin?” and he really wanted to know. He knew of my struggles with PTSD from my Marine Corps covert operations service.
He stayed focused on his cause (our cause) to the end. His mind remained sharp. An avid reader and a news addict, he remained involved with issues and causes to the end. He also was generous with his time for others. I watched, observed and participated in (reveled in) meetings with Frank and Dan Choi. These two activists, so focused, so intent in their struggle/fight for social justice, came together to pass the torch.
We can’t be perfect – but we can focus on what is important to us. Does that mean that some things are left undone? Yes. So we must surround ourselves with others who complement us — who may have the same goals, the same sense of justice — but may be working toward and for the cause in a different way.
Yes, Frank was my hero, and he was my friend. I am proud and privileged to stand next to him. Frank, your body may have left the premises – but your spirit and inspiration remains. —Marvin Carter, Washington, D.C.