1950 March 29

Lavender Scare: Senator Claims “Thousands” of Homosexuals in Federal Government


On the floor of the U.S. Congress, Sen. Kenneth Wherry (R–Nebraska) alleged there were “thousands” of homosexuals employed by the federal government. The claim was part of a national homophobic panic in the early 1950s that has been labeled the “Lavender Scare.” On April 27, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower revised President Truman’s Federal Loyalty Program (created on March 21, 1947) to cover “immoral” conduct” and “sexual perversion,” which were interpreted to mean homosexuality, as posing a security risk and therefore grounds for being ineligible for federal employment.

Read: David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (2004)

See the documentary: The Lavender Scare (2012): http://www.thelavenderscare.com/

Watch Boys Beware, classic homophobic warning film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2zikCUPPxw

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

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