Friday, June 24, 2011


I have just learned that a AAS subcommittee and the AAS LGBTQ liaison have forwarded a proposal to the Executive Council to honor Dr. Kameny at the Austin meeting in January. This proposal will be taken up this fall (October I think), and the prospects for passage appear very good. The form of the honor is not clear, but will probably be an ad hoc special recognition.

Regarding a named prize, the gears of the bureaucracy move slowly, but they are definitely moving. A subcommittee has been formed to consider creating a new formal prize, with parameters like eligibility and frequency to be determined, that would be suitable for cases like Dr. Kameny's: astronomers who do noteworthy work outside the field. It takes time for this to happen, and if even if it happens quickly there will have to be a formal, proper fundraising effort, which will take even more time (even with our head start). If such a prize is eventually instituted, it is reasonable to assume that it would be named for someone, and that person could be Dr. Kameny, in principle. It is also reasonable to assume that Dr. Kameny would be a natural recipient for this prize.

I have been told that the committee does not want to wait for this deliberate process to conclude before recognizing Dr. Kameny, thus the proposal for a special award in Austin. I was told that the intention of this award is not as a replacement for a later honor, which is still being seriously considered, but will take a while.

My personal take on this is that things are moving as quickly and as well as could be hoped for. This is all very good news!

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