July 16, 2014 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
New book on Kameny papers to be released in November
Frank Kameny, gay news, Washington Blade

‘In 1961, it has, ironically, become necessary for me to fight my own government, with words,’ Frank Kameny wrote to President Kennedy. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A collection of about 150 letters written by the late gay rights leader Frank Kameny is scheduled to be published in November in a new book called “Gay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny.”

Michael G. Long, the author and editor of several books on politics, religion, sports and civil rights, is the editor of the new Kameny book, which will be published by Syracuse University Press.

“These letters are lively and colorful because they are in Kameny’s inimitable voice — a voice that was consistently loud, echoing through such places as the Oval Office, the Pentagon and the British Parliament, and often shrill, piercing to the federal agency heads, military generals, and media personalities who received his countless letters,” a statement by Syracuse University Press says.

“This volume collects approximately 150 letters from 1958 to 1975, a critical period in Kameny’s life during which he evolved from a victim of the law to a vocal opponent of the law, to the voice of the law itself,” the statement says.

Long told the Blade that he became interested in Kameny and his papers after he learned about Kameny’s early gay rights work while researching connections between the black civil rights movement and the gay civil rights movement.

“I delved into his letters primarily because that’s my field of interest – civil rights letters penned by individuals who pushed us to become a better country (Jackie Robison, Thurgood Marshall, Bayard Rustin and now Frank Kameny),” Long said in an email to the Blade.

The announcement that Long’s book on Kameny’s papers is about to be published comes at a time when author David Carter continues to work on what is expected to be the definitive biography of Kameny. Carter began work on his book before Kameny died in October 2011, giving him the opportunity to interview Kameny extensively.

Carter is the author of the 2004 book, “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution.”

“I’m very familiar with David Carter’s excellent book on Stonewall, and I expect that his forthcoming biography of Frank Kameny will be at least as wonderful a contribution to LGBT history as Stonewall is,” Long said.

 

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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