The National Park Service announced on Wednesday that it has listed the home of gay rights leader Frank Kameny in the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of the “historic significance” of Kameny’s work on behalf of LGBT equality.
“For years, Dr. Kameny’s residence at 5020 Cathedral Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C., served as a meeting place, archives, informal counseling center, headquarters of the Mattachine Society, and a safe haven for visiting gay and lesbian activists,” the Park Service said in a Nov. 2 statement. “It was here that Dr. Franklin E. Kameny developed the civil rights strategies and tactics that have come to define the modern gay rights movement.”
The Park Service’s decision to place the Kameny house on its National Register of Historic Places comes three years after the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to designate the house as an historic landmark.
“Dr. Kameny led a newly militant activism in the fledgling gay civil rights of the 1960s,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “He was a landmark figure in articulating and achieving gay civil rights in federal employment and security clearance cases, and in reversing the medical community’s view on homosexuality as a mental disorder.”
In a Nov. 2 statement, the National Park Service said, “Kameny’s efforts in the civil rights movement, modeled in part on African American civil rights strategies and tactics, significantly altered the rights, perceptions, and role of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people in American society.”
Park Service spokesperson David Barna said placement of Kameny’s house on the National Register of Historic Places makes it eligible for federal preservation grants as well as tax deductions to help cover costs for maintaining the house for preservation purposes. He said the listing also would make it more difficult to radically change the appearance of the house or raze it by a future owner wishing to build a new structure on the property.