1953 April 27

President Eisenhower Expands Loyalty Program to Cover Homosexuality


President Dwight Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10450 on this day, revising President Harry Truman’s Federal Loyalty Program (March 21, 1947). In many respects Eisenhower’s changes made the program worse than Truman’s. It expanded the grounds for dismissal to cover “immoral” behavior and “sexual perversion,” which covered homosexuality.

In the early 1950s, Washington was swept by a homophobic panic that some have labeled the “lavender scare.” For events in the “lavender scare,” go to March 29, 1950; May 19, 1950; November 27, 1950; and March 25, 1952.

Read the key new section of the new Loyalty Program – Section Sec. 8. (a) (1):
“(i) Any behavior, activities, or associations which tend to show that the individual is not reliable or trustworthy. (ii) Any deliberate misrepresentations, falsifications, or omissions of material facts.(iii) Any criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction, sexual perversion. [emphasis added] (iv) Any illness, including any mental condition, of a nature which in the opinion of competent medical authority may cause significant defect in the judgment or reliability of the employee, with due regard to the transient or continuing effect of the illness and the medical findings in such case. (v) Any facts which furnish reason to believe that the individual may be subjected to coercion, influence, or pressure which may cause him to act contrary to the best interests of the national security.”

Read the entire Executive Order: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=59216

Learn more about the “Lavender Scare”:  David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (2004)

Watch Boys Beware, a classic 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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