Various government officials, members of Congress, local community leaders and others congregated at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill to bid a final farewell at the official memorial service for Frank Kameny, the local gay-rights pioneer who died Oct. 11.
”It was because of that man I have a career,” Berry said, gesturing toward a photo of Kameny at the front of the room and recalling Kameny’s longtime fight – beginning with his dismissal from the U.S. Army Map Service in 1957 – to allow openly gay men and women to serve as government employees.
Berry recalled knowing he was gay as a child and wanting to go into public service as an adult, but knowing that his opportunities were limited because of the fear of being ”outed” as gay and fired.
”Frank Kameny freed us from that fear,” Berry said. ”He allowed us to step out of the closet and into the full light of equality.”