EP 398 The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America

Many of the heroes of the civil rights movement for African-Americans have been in the forefront of public consciousness again in the recent period. Perhaps, it’s fitting that for a group of Americans who often were reticent to share their identity, the name of the leader of their movement, pre-dating the 1969 Stonewall riots, remains unknown to most. It was author Eric Cervini’s objective in his book, ‘The Deviant’s War’ to introduce us to Frank Kameny who, for almost a decade before Stonewall, challenged the orthodoxy that homosexuality was a mental illness and led an aggressive campaign against the federal government’s ban on employing gay workers. Mr. Cervini is an historian of the LGBTQ community and its politics and walks us through the battles Kameny ignited, adopting many of the tactics of the African American civil rights movement, and on through the battle for marriage equality and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on discrimination of gays in employment. He also talks about where the movement is headed and the challenges that lie ahead.