The Lavender Scare was a dark period in the history of the United States government that targeted gay and lesbian federal employees. The era started sometime in the late 1940s and lasted until the late 1960s, a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness and a crime in most states. This article will explore the year when the Lavender Scare began and the events that led to the witch hunt of LGBTQ government employees.
What Year Was The Lavender Scare?
The Lavender Scare began in the year 1950, following the passage of Executive Order 10450 by President Harry S. Truman. The order aimed to eliminate “security risks” in government agencies by authorizing investigations of federal employees’ sexual orientation. Homosexuals were considered a liability to national security, presumed to be susceptible to blackmail, and were seen as leading a “morally degenerate lifestyle.”
The Red Scare and the Lavender Scare
The Lavender Scare happened during the same period as the infamous Red Scare when U.S. citizens were suspicious of communists and Soviet spies. The federal government’s paranoia about security risks was at an all-time high, and McCarthyism, the political practice of making accusations of subversion without evidence, became widespread. The Lavender Scare was a by-product of this climate of fear and suspicion.
Impact of the Lavender Scare
The Lavender Scare resulted in the firing of thousands of gay and lesbian government employees, who lost their livelihoods, reputations, and families as a result of their sexual orientation. They were denied employment and harassed even after leaving their government jobs. The consequences of the Lavender Scare lasted for decades, not just for the people who were directly impacted but for the generations to come.
The End of the Lavender Scare
The Lavender Scare began to lose steam and eventually faded away in the 1970s when society became more accepting of homosexuality. President Bill Clinton’s 1995 executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ employees marked a significant milestone in the fight against prejudice and discrimination.
The Lavender Scare was a shameful episode in U.S. history that targeted gay and lesbian federal employees, ruining their lives and careers. The era began in 1950 and lasted until the late 1960s, a time when homosexuality was considered illegal, immoral and viewed as a threat to national security. Although the Lavender Scare is now over, its impact is felt to this day, as LGBTQ people continue to fight for equal rights and to be treated with dignity and respect.
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