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The " Lavender Scare " refers to a witch hunt and the mass firings of homosexual people in the s from the United States government. It contributed to and paralleled the anti-communist campaign known as McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare. Former U.
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During the s, the State Department began to scrutinize public servants in its ranks, methodically scanning personnel files and interviewing suspected threats. You might think the targets were suspected Communists—after all, it was the height of the Red Scare and Cold War paranoia. Instead, LGBT people were in the crosshairs, accused of unfitness to serve. The period—considered as targeted and as widespread as the concurrent Red Scare —is now known as the Lavender Scare.
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? What comment do you care to make?
This work will take its place beside those of George Chauncey and Allen Berube, and every serious student of 20th century American history should own it. Fortunately, David K. Johnson has done so with intelligence, sensitivity, and grace.
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In Frank Kameny was out of a job. In the wake of the Russian launch of Sputnik in October ofthe American government was rushing to catch up, and the young scientist seemed poised to play a role in the new emphasis on space exploration. His story was not unique. He was one of many victims of the Lavender Scare — a manifestation of Cold War paranoia and social bigotry that led to the dismissal of hundreds and possibly thousands of gays and lesbians from government jobs.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, By David K. But few Americans know that McCarthy also charged that the government had been infiltrated by homosexuals, and that they posed a threat equally as grave to national security.