The Lavender Scare

Author: David K. Johnson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226401960
Release Date: 2009-02-13
Genre: Social Science

The McCarthy era is generally considered the worst period of political repression in recent American history. But while the famous question, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" resonated in the halls of Congress, security officials were posing another question at least as frequently, if more discreetly: "Information has come to the attention of the Civil Service Commission that you are a homosexual. What comment do you care to make?" Historian David K. Johnson here relates the frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a "Lavender Scare" more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy's Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives. The homosexual purges ended promising careers, ruined lives, and pushed many to suicide. But, as Johnson also shows, the purges brought victims together to protest their treatment, helping launch a new civil rights struggle. The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of "national security" during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.

The Lavender Scare

Author: David K. Johnson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226401901
Release Date: 2006-05-15
Genre: Social Science

The McCarthy era is generally considered the worst period of political repression in recent American history. But while the famous question, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" resonated in the halls of Congress, security officials were posing another question at least as frequently, if more discreetly: "Information has come to the attention of the Civil Service Commission that you are a homosexual. What comment do you care to make?" Historian David K. Johnson here relates the frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a "Lavender Scare" more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy's Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives. The homosexual purges ended promising careers, ruined lives, and pushed many to suicide. But, as Johnson also shows, the purges brought victims together to protest their treatment, helping launch a new civil rights struggle. The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of "national security" during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.

The Lavender Scare

Author: David K. Johnson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226404811
Release Date: 2004-01-01
Genre: Social Science

The McCarthy era is generally considered the worst period of political repression in recent American history. But while the famous question, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" resonated in the halls of Congress, security officials were posing another question at least as frequently, if more discreetly: "Information has come to the attention of the Civil Service Commission that you are a homosexual. What comment do you care to make?" Historian David K. Johnson here relates the frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a "Lavender Scare" more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy's Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives. The homosexual purges ended promising careers, ruined lives, and pushed many to suicide. But, as Johnson also shows, the purges brought victims together to protest their treatment, helping launch a new civil rights struggle. The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of "national security" during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.

Masked Voices

Author: Craig M. Loftin
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9781438440149
Release Date: 2012-04-01
Genre: Social Science

An analysis of unpublished letters to the first American gay magazine reveals the agency, adaptation, and resistance occurring in the gay community during the McCarthy era.

And They Were Wonderful Teachers

Author: Karen Graves
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252076398
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Education

A stirring examination of how Cold War repression and persecution extended to gay and lesbian teachers in Florida

How the Religious Right Shaped Lesbian and Gay Activism

Author: Tina Fetner
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9780816649174
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Social Science

While gay rights are on the national agenda now, activists have spent decades fighting for their platform, seeing themselves as David against the religious righta s Goliath. At the same time, the religious right has continuously and effectively countered the endeavors of lesbian and gay activists, working to repeal many of the laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and to progress a constitutional amendment a protectinga marriage. In this accessible and grounded work, Tina Fetner uncovers a remarkably complex relationship between the two movementsa one that transcends political rivalry.

Lavender Culture

Author: Karla Jay
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814742174
Release Date: 1979
Genre: Health & Fitness

The influence of gays and lesbians on language, literature, theater, poetry, dance, music, and the arts is unmeasurable. In the era before AIDS, gay and lesbian culture had a defining, if unrecognized, influence on American life, an influence that is only now being acknowledged. This reissue of the classic anthology, Lavender Culture, serves as a provocative, dynamic, and wide-ranging reminder of American gay and lesbian culture in the days before the status of gay people received widespread attention in the media, religion, and politics, before Newsweek saw it fit to feature a cover story on LESBIANS, and before gays and lesbians took center stage in America's cultural landscape. Here we find the young, assertive voices of such activists, authors, and artists as Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Grier, John Stoltenberg, Julia Penelope, Andrea Dworkin, Andrew Kopkind, Jane Rule, Arthur Bell, Charlotte Bunche, and dozens more. Including essays on such diverse subjects as gay bath houses, the gay male image in classical ballet, images of gays in rock music, Judy Garland, lesbian humor, sports and machismo, the growing business of women's music, and the Cleveland bar scene in the 1940s, Lavender Culture, with new introductory essays by the editors and Cindy Patton, offers a panoply of gay and lesbian life, tracing the current influence and visibility of gay and lesbian culture back to its origins.

Letters to ONE

Author: Craig M. Loftin
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9781438442976
Release Date: 2012-09-01
Genre: History

Long before the Stonewall riots, ONE magazine—the first openly gay magazine in the United States—offered a positive viewpoint of homosexuality and encouraged gay people to resist discrimination and persecution. Despite a limited monthly circulation of only a few thousand, the magazine influenced the substance, character, and tone of the early American gay rights movement. This book is a collection of letters written to the magazine, a small number of which were published in ONE, but most of them were not. The letters candidly explore issues such as police harassment of gay and lesbian communities, antigay job purges, and the philosophical, scientific, and religious meanings of homosexuality.

Gay Rights and Moral Panic

Author: F. Fejes
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9780230614680
Release Date: 2016-02-25
Genre: Social Science

Using the 1977 campaign against the Dade County Florida gay rights ordinance as a focal point, this book provides an examination of the emergence of the modern lesbian and gay American movement, the challenges it posed to the accepted American notions of sexuality, and how American society reacted in turn.

Coming Out Under Fire

Author: Allan Bérubé
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 080789964X
Release Date: 2010-09-07
Genre: Social Science

During World War II, as the United States called on its citizens to serve in unprecedented numbers, the presence of gay Americans in the armed forces increasingly conflicted with the expanding antihomosexual policies and procedures of the military. In Coming Out Under Fire, Allan Berube examines in depth and detail these social and political confrontation--not as a story of how the military victimized homosexuals, but as a story of how a dynamic power relationship developed between gay citizens and their government, transforming them both. Drawing on GIs' wartime letters, extensive interviews with gay veterans, and declassified military documents, Berube thoughtfully constructs a startling history of the two wars gay military men and women fough--one for America and another as homosexuals within the military. Berube's book, the inspiration for the 1995 Peabody Award-winning documentary film of the same name, has become a classic since it was published in 1990, just three years prior to the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which has continued to serve as an uneasy compromise between gays and the military. With a new foreword by historians John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, this book remains a valuable contribution to the history of World War II, as well as to the ongoing debate regarding the role of gays in the U.S. military.

Fall Out Shelters for the Human Spirit

Author: Michael L. Krenn
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807876410
Release Date: 2006-03-08
Genre: Political Science

During the Cold War, culture became another weapon in America's battle against communism. Part of that effort in cultural diplomacy included a program to arrange the exhibition of hundreds of American paintings overseas. Michael L. Krenn studies the successes, failures, contradictions, and controversies that arose when the U.S. government and the American art world sought to work together to make an international art program a reality between the 1940s and the 1970s. The Department of State, then the United States Information Agency, and eventually the Smithsonian Institution directed this effort, relying heavily on the assistance of major American art organizations, museums, curators, and artists. What the government hoped to accomplish and what the art community had in mind, however, were often at odds. Intense domestic controversies resulted, particularly when the effort involved modern or abstract expressionist art. Ultimately, the exhibition of American art overseas was one of the most controversial Cold War initiatives undertaken by the United States. Krenn's investigation deepens our understanding of the cultural dimensions of America's postwar diplomacy and explores how unexpected elements of the Cold War led to a redefinition of what is, and is not, "American."

Buying Gay

Author: David K. Johnson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231548175
Release Date: 2019-02-26
Genre: History

In 1951, a new type of publication appeared on newsstands—the physique magazine produced by and for gay men. For many men growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, these magazines and their images and illustrations of nearly naked men, as well as articles, letters from readers, and advertisements, served as an initiation into gay culture. The publishers behind them were part of a wider world of “physique entrepreneurs”: men as well as women who ran photography studios, mail-order catalogues, pen-pal services, book clubs, and niche advertising for gay audiences. While such businesses have often been seen as peripheral to the gay political movement, in Buying Gay David K. Johnson shows how gay commerce was not a byproduct of the gay-rights movement but an important catalyst for it. Offering a vivid look into the lives of physique entrepreneurs and their customers, and presenting a wealth of illustrations, Johnson explores the connection—and tension—between the market and the movement. With circulation rates many times higher than the openly political “homophile” magazines, physique magazines were the largest gay media outlets of their time. This network of producers and consumers helped foster a gay community and upend censorships laws, paving the way for open expression. Physique entrepreneurs were at the center of legal struggles, especially against the U.S. Post Office, including the court victory that allowed full frontal male nudity and open homoeroticism. Buying Gay reconceives the history of the gay movement and shows how consumer culture helped create community and a site for resistance.

Hoover s War on Gays

Author: Douglas M. Charles
Publisher:
ISBN: 0700621199
Release Date: 2015-09-11
Genre: History

At the FBI, the “Sex Deviates” program covered a lot of ground, literally; at its peak, J. Edgar Hoover's notorious “Sex Deviates” file encompassed nearly 99 cubic feet or more than 330,000 pages of information. In 1977–1978 these files were destroyed—and it would seem that four decades of the FBI's dirty secrets went up in smoke. But in a remarkable feat of investigative research, synthesis, and scholarly detective work, Douglas M. Charles manages to fill in the yawning blanks in the bureau's history of systematic (some would say obsessive) interest in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans in the twentieth century. His book, Hoover’s War on Gays, is the first to fully expose the extraordinary invasion of US citizens' privacy perpetrated on a historic scale by an institution tasked with protecting American life. For much of the twentieth century, when exposure might mean nothing short of ruin, gay American men and women had much to fear from law enforcement of every kind—but none so much as the FBI, with its inexhaustible federal resources, connections, and its carefully crafted reputation for ethical, by-the-book operations. What Hoover’s War on Gays reveals, rather, is the FBI’s distinctly unethical, off-the-books long-term targeting of gay men and women and their organizations under cover of "official" rationale—such as suspicion of criminal activity or vulnerability to blackmail and influence. The book offers a wide-scale view of this policy and practice, from a notorious child kidnapping and murder of the 1930s (ostensibly by a sexual predator with homosexual tendencies), educating the public about the threat of "deviates," through WWII's security concerns about homosexuals who might be compromised by the enemy, to the Cold War's "Lavender Scare" when any and all gays working for the US government shared the fate of suspected Communist sympathizers. Charles's work also details paradoxical ways in which these incursions conjured counterefforts—like the Mattachine Society; ONE, Inc.; and the Daughters of Bilitis—aimed at protecting and serving the interests of postwar gay culture. With its painstaking recovery of a dark chapter in American history and its new insights into seemingly familiar episodes of that story—involving noted journalists, politicians, and celebrities—this thorough and deeply engaging book reveals the perils of authority run amok and stands as a reminder of damage done in the name of decency.

The Straight State

Author: Margot Canaday
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400830427
Release Date: 2009-07-06
Genre: Political Science

The Straight State is the most expansive study of the federal regulation of homosexuality yet written. Unearthing startling new evidence from the National Archives, Margot Canaday shows how the state systematically came to penalize homosexuality, giving rise to a regime of second-class citizenship that sexual minorities still live under today. Canaday looks at three key arenas of government control--immigration, the military, and welfare--and demonstrates how federal enforcement of sexual norms emerged with the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. She begins at the turn of the twentieth century when the state first stumbled upon evidence of sex and gender nonconformity, revealing how homosexuality was policed indirectly through the exclusion of sexually "degenerate" immigrants and other regulatory measures aimed at combating poverty, violence, and vice. Canaday argues that the state's gradual awareness of homosexuality intensified during the later New Deal and through the postwar period as policies were enacted that explicitly used homosexuality to define who could enter the country, serve in the military, and collect state benefits. Midcentury repression was not a sudden response to newly visible gay subcultures, Canaday demonstrates, but the culmination of a much longer and slower process of state-building during which the state came to know and to care about homosexuality across many decades. Social, political, and legal history at their most compelling, The Straight State explores how regulation transformed the regulated: in drawing boundaries around national citizenship, the state helped to define the very meaning of homosexuality in America.

A Queer Capital

Author: Genny Beemyn
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317819387
Release Date: 2014-06-20
Genre: Social Science

Rooted in extensive archival research and personal interviews, A Queer Capital is the first history of LGBT life in the nation’s capital. Revealing a vibrant past that dates back more than 125 years, the book explores how lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals established spaces of their own before and after World War II, survived some of the harshest anti-gay campaigns in the U.S., and organized to demand equal treatment. Telling the stories of black and white gay communities and individuals, Genny Beemyn shows how race, gender, and class shaped the construction of gay social worlds in a racially segregated city. From the turn of the twentieth century through the 1980s, Beemyn explores the experiences of gay people in Washington, showing how they created their own communities, fought for their rights, and, in the process, helped to change the country. Combining rich personal stories with keen historical analysis, A Queer Capital provides insights into LGBT life, the history of Washington, D.C., and African American life and culture in the twentieth century.