1961-05-21

FRANKLIN KAMENY and JACK NICHOLS, inspired by the west coast work of Harry Hay and the Mattachine Society, co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, an organization that pressed aggressively for gay and lesbian civil rights. Dr. Kameny is credited with bringing a more aggressive new tone to the Gay Civil Rights struggle. Dr. Kameny and the Mattachine Society of Washington pressed for fair and equal treatment of Gay employees in the federal government by fighting security clearance denials, employment restrictions and dismissals, and working with other groups to press for equality for Gay citizens. In 1968, Dr. Kameny, inspired by Stokely Carmichael’s creation of the phrase “Black is Beautiful”, created the slogan “Gay is Good” for the Gay Civil Rights movement.

Kameny and Nichols launched the first public protests by Gays and Lesbians with a picket line at the White House on April 17, 1965. With support from New York’s Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, the Mattachine Society of Washington expanded the picketing to the Pentagon, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall for what became an Annual Reminder for Gay Rights.