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DC Commission on Human Rights (DCCHR) and the DC Office of Human Rights (DCOHR) Announce 2010 Award Recipient

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DC Commission on Human Rights (DCCHR) and the DC Office of Human Rights (DCOHR) Announce 2010 Award Recipient

DCCHR and DCOHR announce the recipient of the Third Annual Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award.

The District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights are proud to announce that Dr. Frank Kameny, a human rights activist and one of the founders of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender affairs civil rights movement both nationally and locally, is the recipient of the Third Annual Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award.

The Award

The Cornelius R. “Neil” Alexander Humanitarian Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of individuals who have made significant contributions in the field of human or civil rights and to improving the quality of life in the District of Columbia.

Neil Alexander was the Chief Hearing Examiner for the DC Commission on Human Rights, from 1987 until his untimely death in 2007. Neil was widely recognized as an expert in discrimination law and a leader in the fight for social justice. With an extensive knowledge of discrimination law, he wrote numerous legal decisions in cases that received regional and national attention.

The 2010 Recipient: Dr. Frank Kameny

Dr. Kameny is one of the founders of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender affairs (GLBT) civil rights movement both nationally and locally and served as the first openly gay member of the DC Human Rights Commission.   The recent passage of marriage equality and the foundation of the decision to not include it as a ballot measure are in part due to the work of Dr. Kameny and members of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, an organization that he founded 37 years ago. 

In 1959, Dr. Kameny wrote in opposition to a proposed increase in the size of the D.C. police force as long as they were wasting their existing personnel on harassing homosexuals.  In 1961, he co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington with Jack Nichols, and in the ensuing years Mattachine fought back against police entrapment, forcing a gradual retreat by MPD. In 1975, at DC's first Home Rule budget hearing, Dr. Kameny’s leadership resulted in GAA successfully persuading the DC Council to delete the line item that funded the Metropolitan Police Department's Morals Division.  In 1973, Frank lead a successful campaign to have the American Physiological Association recognize that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness. 

For a quarter-century beginning in 1980, Frank led GLAA's annual wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, honoring all service members who have given their lives in defense of America, including but not limited to gay and lesbian service members.
 

The Award will be presented at the annual International Human Rights Day program December 10, 2010.