He will be forever thanked by LGBT government workers like me for helping usher in an age when we could serve openly, love who we love and bring our full selves to our work. But more than that: The American people owe him a debt of gratitude as well.
The fact that America leads the developed world in guns and gun-related deaths doesn't faze gun advocates. Like tax cuts, guns are considered a cure-all. Unfortunately, the same appears true of munitions in American foreign policy.
In 1971, a young man was wrongfully terminated from his job with the federal government. And his termination was not based on poor performance. Rather, Charlie Baker was fired from his job with the NBS simply because he was gay.
Encountering the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg in the D.C. Council Chambers on June 27 took me back five years to our battles over the District's marriage equality bill. This time it was a hearing on a bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors.
"Snippets" of legislative history are not a reason to "tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent in Windsor, supporting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Roberts could have risen above "snippets" to look at congressional history itself.
Let me suggest an answer that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago: Think about a society that views being gay as we now view being left-handed. The goal is for homosexuality to lose all its negative connotations, to become worth mentioning only in special, neutral contexts.
In addition to being National Coming Out Day, today is the one-year anniversary of the death of one of the LGBT movement's founding members, Dr. Franklin Kameny. In 1968 Dr. Kameny coined the phrase "gay is good." Gay is indeed good, but we need to be great.
Frank Kameny fought with a sense of confidence honed by his education and training. I don't think his opponents and detractors ever fully appreciated they were dealing with an astronomer -- an astronomer who would spark the LGBT movement for civil equality.
When Dr. Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings came to speak at Allegheny College, I was 19 years old. I was still closeted then, even to myself, but their honest, open telling of their stories was the first clue I had that there were others like me.
Frank Kameny, who died Tuesday at the age of 86, fought longer and harder for gay and lesbian civil rights than anyone else in U.S. history. Although he came to be revered and honored, his struggle came at great personal cost.
I could say a lot about Frank Kameny -- how he never lost the mischief in his eye that allowed him to take on the U.S. government, how he never was ashamed to flaunt the "sex" in "homosexuality." But it's all evident in this video.
Kameny's battles were not just for his rights, nor only for the rights of his friends, but for the rights of all who came after him. Give that some thought. Consider what that means. Generations to come may live a better life because of the battles we fight today.