1952 March 25

Homophobic Scare: State Department Removes 126 “Perverts”


The U.S. State Department announced on this day that it had removed 126 “perverts” from employment since the beginning of the year. The actions were part of a wave of homophobia that swept Washington, D.C. and the rest of the government in the 1950s, and has been labeled the “Lavender Scare.” Senator Joe McCarthy, in particular, charged there were many homosexuals in the State Department. The New York Times article on the story used the word “perverts” in the headline. President Dwight Eisenhower contributed to the panic by revising President Truman Federal Loyalty Program on April 27, 1953, to include “immoral” behavior and “sexual perversion.”

Read about the homophobic panic in the 1950s: David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare (2004)

Watch a short documentary on The Lavender Scare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CuMkTSiB1A

Learn more: Craig Loftin, Masked Voices:Ggay Men and Lesbians in Cold War America (2012)

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