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Canadian astronomer Gary Billings discovered the celestial body orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Billings suggested to his colleague Richard Kinne, who is gay, that the asteroid should be named after Kameny who had recently died. Kinne was apparently speechless - Kinne had met Kameny around 3 years previously.
“I concluded he was a man I would have admired,” Billings wrote to Kinne. “Add that to the fact that I have many friends and acquaintances who are members of the LGBT community, and I felt it was something I wanted to do to honour Dr. Kameny — and my friends!”
It’s a fitting tribute: Kameny earned a doctorate in astronomy at Harvard University and was an astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service until he was fired for being a homosexual. It was his termination that sparked Kameny’s passion for justice, especially for the LGBT community.
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