Following the death of pioneering LGBT activist Frank Kameny, a small group of dedicated friends has worked quietly to sort out the details of his estate, memorial services, cremation and burial. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their heroic work ensuring that Kameny — who gave so much to so many of us — lived and died with dignity.
But those end-of-life details can be costly: headstones, cremation services and other necessary expenses. To offset those costs, some community activists have urged donations to the local group Helping Our Brothers and Sisters. Here’s another idea: let actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar-winning gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black make a contribution.
DiCaprio and Black visited Kameny in his D.C. home back in January while researching the new film “J.Edgar,” a biopic about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who often targeted closeted government workers, creating a chilling atmosphere for gays in the 1950s and 60s.
The film opens this weekend, just as Kameny will be lying in state and local officials bidding farewell to the civil rights icon.
DiCaprio is reportedly worth more than $200 million, according to various lists of Hollywood’s richest actors. Surely he can afford to compensate the estate for the time and insights that Kameny provided to the making of the film. And Black is a regular visitor to D.C. and surely familiar with Kameny’s contributions to creating a world in which an openly gay man could win an Oscar and deliver an acceptance speech before an audience of adoring millions.
DiCaprio and Black should contact HOBS and step in to ensure Kameny’s end-of-life expenses are covered. It’s the right thing to do.