The lavender scare: How the federal government purged gay employees (CBS News)

You may have heard of the "Red Scare" of the 1950s – the fear stoked by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy that Communists had infested the federal government. Accused State Department employees would be interviewed for the purpose of acquiring information concerning others. "That was the technique that was used by the government: grab one person, and then get that person to inform on other people," said filmmaker Josh Howard.

But a panic of a different shade led to a much wider purge of gay employees. "Homosexuals must not be handling top-secret material," McCarthy said. "The pervert is easy prey to the blackmailer."

The panic long outlasted McCarthy's tenure.

David K. Johnson is the author of the definitive history of what's come to be known as the "Lavender Scare." He defined it as "a fear that permeated Cold War political culture, this fear that gay people were a threat to national security, that they had infiltrated the federal government, and that they needed to be systematically removed from government service."

The rooting-out of homosexual employees became official policy with an executive order signed by newly-elected President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.

"This is a guy who understood firsthand a real threat," said correspondent Mo Rocca. "I mean, he's the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, so you would think he would understand a real threat."

"Well, I think he did," said Johnson. "I think he probably didn't see this as a real threat, but he saw that it won elections."

"That it was expedient, politically?"

"It was part of their campaign, right. 'Let's clean house.' Let's get rid of all these people."

Read the rest here.


Yeah, let's get shut of all those perverts. We won't mention that NOT ONE OF THEM ever succumbed to pressure to compromise their positions or security status from foreign influence, anecdotal stories notwithstanding. Shall we also mention Frank Kameny, a government-employed astronomer, who was the first to confront the US government about the persecution of gays and Lesbians by that same government and to protest that persecution PUBLICLY.

This is the first I have ever heard of Frank Kameny, though not the first I'd ever heard of the Lavender Scare or the indiscriminate removal of homosexuals from the government. I can't help but notice that there were a whole lot of gays out there who served well and successfully and were never confronted about their sexual preferences, mostly because they kept them scrupulously under wraps. I know this because I knew one such man personally.

And of course, now Trump would have us go back to those uneducated and bigoted times ... which gives us one more reason to resist him, his running-dog, Pence, and anyone else who would shove us back in the closet.

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I never knew that about Eisenhower, or the extent of this purge. Thanks for posting.

Between this and the whole "One Nation Under God" crap, my estimate for Ike as a president has taken a considerable hit.


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