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Gay rights
pioneer presents archive to nation

Gay rights
pioneer presents archive to nation

Longtime gay rights activist Franklin Edward Kameny officially presented in excess of 70,000 letters, documents, and other artifacts to the nation on Friday. Kameny's personal papers will be housed by the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, while several protest and picket signs will go to the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History as well as other gay and lesbian history archives across the country.

"Nearly 50 years ago, the United States government banned me from employment in public service because I am a homosexual," Kameny said in a statement. "This archive is not simply my story; it also shows how gay and lesbian Americans have joined the American mainstream story of expanded civil liberties in the 20th century. Today, by accepting these papers, the nation preserves not only our history but marks how far gay and lesbian Americans have traveled on the road to civil equality."

The Kameny archive includes numerous letters, government correspondence, testimony, photographs, picket signs, and other objects. Together they trace the rarely told history of the gay rights movement through Kameny's life from the 1950s to the present.

The collection contains original photographs of gay men and lesbians picketing the White House in 1965 along with the original picket signs, the original policy statement of the United States Civil Service Commission explaining to Kameny the legal justification for barring gays from federal employment, documents from the American Psychiatric Association and the fight to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, as well as many other historically significant documents.

The gift was realized through the financial gifts of a wide array of donors, including bisexual former congressman Michael Huffington, the Human Rights Campaign, the Log Cabin Republicans, and journalist Jonathan Rauch. (The Advocate)

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