The estate of the late gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny has ordered D.C. gay activist Christopher Dyer to stop using Kameny’s nationally recognized “Gay is Good” slogan as part of the name of an LGBT rights website that Dyer launched on Oct. 11.
D.C. attorney Glen Ackerman, who represents the Kameny estate on behalf of Timothy Clark, Kameny’s heir, contacted Dyer by email on Monday informing him that the estate obtained a trademark for the “Gay is Good” slogan.
Dyer forwarded to the Washington Blade an email exchange between him and Ackerman discussing what Dyer said were his plans for using the title, “Gay is Good, Make LGBT Great” for a newly created Facebook page. He states on the Facebook page that the site is intended to serve as “a page that highlights individuals who are doing work to make the lives of LGBT people great.”
Dyer told Ackerman in an email that his Facebook page would not be using the “Gay is Good” phrase for commercial profit and gain.
“The executor of the estate has not made a decision regarding how to best utilize the trademark,” Ackerman replied in an email to Dyer. “As such, it is imperative that you cease using the phrase immediately. It is not relevant that you are not using the phrase for commercial profit or gain. The estate will enforce its trademark rights.”
Replied Dyer, the former head of the city’s Office of GLBT Affairs, “Ok. I will cease from this point forward… On a personal note, I am frankly disgusted that the estate took this action. It wasn’t the intent of Frank to have this phrase trademarked.”
Ackerman told the Blade that Dyer never followed up on an invitation to make an appointment with Ackerman to discuss Dyer’s interest in using the “Gay is Good” slogan.
“This slogan that Frank Kameny coined in 1968 is his intellectual property,” Ackerman said. “Frank owns it. It is historical. We are protecting it so that it will always remain connected to Frank, not Christopher Dyer, not other people, but to Frank.”
Ackerman said the estate declares in its application for the trademark that the objective of the trademark is to ensure that the slogan is always used as intended by Kameny – to promote LGBT equality in a dignified and respectful manner.