Lavender Scare : - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  1. Lavender Scare: The fear that homosexuals posed a threat to national security and needed to be systematically removed from the federal government

  2. Causes Moral corruption Ability to pass undetected among ordinary Americans Fear of the unknown “insidious nature”

  3. Causes cont. • Shared qualities with Communists • Supposed mental illness of the homosexual -”fragile mind” • Loquaciousness and alcoholism • “Alcohol plays an important role in the problem of sexual deviations”—Time magazine, April 1950 • Privacy of the homosexual relationship

  4. The “Homintern” • Homosexuals make up a worldwide network called the “Homintern” • American Mercury journal • Confidential tabloid • Loss of American culture

  5. Beginnings of the Scare • John Peurifoy 91 homosexuals fired from government jobs • Senator Kenneth Wherry”can you think of a person who could be more dangerous to the U.S.A. than a pervert?” • McCarthy “Homosexuality is the psychological maladjustment that lead people towards communism”

  6. Media • Sexual issues not discussed directly in newspapers and other media outlets • “Sexual perverts” • “men of unconventional morality” • “those whose habits are made especially vulnerable to blackmail”

  7. Media cont. • Security risk umbrella term for the homosexual • Moral weaklings • Sexual misfits • Moral risks • Undesirables

  8. Public figures • Accusations of public figures -McCarthy -Adlai Stevenson -Chip Bohlen • Always secret accusations

  9. Results • More gays and lesbians were purged from the federal government than suspected communists • In 1995, the government stopped using sexual orientation as grounds to deny employment • By then, more than 10,000 gay men and women had been driven from their jobs

  10. Move for Civil Rights • Revealed vibrant lesbian and gay subculture in Washington • Government’s undoing • First sustained gay organization in the U.S. (California, 1951) • Fostering of bond between the male gay community and the female gay community