The following was submitted as a letter to the editor. Visit washingtonblade.com to join the discussion.
On behalf of Helping Our Brothers and Sisters, I would like to express our thanks to all who helped pay tribute to the life’s work of Franklin Edward Kameny. For many of us, this is the perfect time not simply to say our thanksgiving, but also to redouble our efforts to help achieve equality and to end discrimination.
Special thanks also must go to our Mayor Vincent Gray and the leadership of our D.C. Council members, especially David Catania and Jim Graham who paid personal tribute to Dr. Kameny at the Carnegie Library.
We also express thanks to the Members of Congress and public officials who eulogized him beautifully on Capitol Hill including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Reps. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin, and John Berry, director of OPM. We are grateful to Yale law professor Bill Eskridge for his moving tribute to Kameny.
Thus far, with the generosity of many friends, we have covered expenses for Kameny’s viewing at Carnegie Library and his essential funeral costs, too. To be clear, we are especially grateful to our mayor’s staff for taking care of most of these expenses associated with the public events and the generous use of the prestigious Carnegie Library atrium.
In addition, we have now paid the deposit on a fitting, public gravesite for Kameny at the historic Congressional Cemetery. Charles Francis and Rick Rosendall volunteered to help identify and secure the ideal site near the resting place of Leonard Matlovich as well as Barbara Gittings (who will one day be interred at Congressional with her partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen), but not too close to J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson.
To honor Frank Kameny’s distinguished military service in Europe during World War II, a U.S. Army grave marker has been ordered and will be supplied at our government’s expense. However, to further distinguish Frank’s legacy as civil rights hero, we will have a second grave footer emblazoned with his famous remark: “Gay is Good.” We anticipate a graveside service in early spring when the markers and the gravesite are made ready.
For all who wish to help raise the remaining $4,000 anticipated, you may make your tax-deductible contribution online at HelpingOurBrothersandSisters.org or simply mail a check to HOBS, P.O. Box 53477, Washington, D.C. 20009. You also may email us at HOBSDC@gmail.com to make arrangements.
Any and all contributions raised beyond these expenses will go toward helping others who are at risk within the LGBT community. Wishing everyone a memorable Thanksgiving Holiday, and to never forget that “Gay is Good.” —Marvin Carter, president, HOBS