1950 November 27

Senate Report: “Homosexuals . . . Are Not Proper Persons to be Employed in Government”

 

A U.S. Senate report released on this day, Employment of Homosexuals and other Sex Perverts in Government, declared that homosexuals “are not proper persons to be employed in government.” (The derogatory term “perverts” was freely and publicly used in these years.) The report, and the attitudes it expressed, was part of a national homophobic panic in the early 1950s, which has been labeled “The Lavender Scare.” The report is generally referred to as the Hoey Report, after Senator Clyde Hoey, who chaired the investigation.

Despite its alarmist homophobic conclusion, the report was unable to cite a single example of a homosexual government employee being blackmailed into divulging sensitive national security information. On April 27, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10450, revising President Truman’s federal loyalty program (see March 21, 1947) — adding the categories of “immoral” behavior and “sexual perversion” as grounds for dismissing a federal employee as a “security risk” (as opposed to a “loyalty risk”). The new standard led to the removal of more homosexuals, both actual and alleged, from federal employment.

Learn more about the report at PBS/Frontline:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/context/employment.html

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

Watch Boys Beware, a 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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