Pictured, above: President Barack Obama shakes hands with gay rights activist Frank Kameny signing a memorandum on federal benefits and non-discrimination at the White House, June 17, 2009 (Alex Wong/Getty)
Years before the Stonewall Riots, there was Frank Kameny. Fired from his job as an astronomer in the US Army Map Service in 1957 because of his homosexuality, Kameny sued his way up to the Supreme Court. Although the court denied to take the case in 1961, it was a watershed moment, marking the first time a civil rights claim was brought to justice on the basis of sexual orientation.
Now, the "father" of the fight to end workplace discrimination for LGBT people is finally getting recognized: The US Department of Labor announced that Kameny will be inducted into its Hall of Honor, the organization's highest accolade.
Kameny, who passed away in 2011, has been widely recognized for decades of service towards LGBT equality. He founded the Washignton, D.C., chapter of the Mattachine Club, which held the first ever gay picket of the White House 50 years ago.
In 2010, a street was named in his honor in Dupont Circle, in D.C., and the following year, his home was designated a historic landmark. Kameny was also seated in the front row at the White House ceremony when President Barack Obama repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell.
Speaking on the announcement, Secretary of Labour Thomas E Perez said:
“Frank Kameny was a groundbreaking leader in the LGBT civil rights movement. He fought tirelessly to live out his truth and to end workplace discrimination."
"At the Department of Labour we work every day to carry on his legacy and ensure that all workers, no matter who they are or who they love, have equal access to opportunity.”