Posts Tagged As: Barbara Gittings
April 27th, 2008
Fifty-five years ago today, on April 27, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, which mandated the firing of all federal employees who were determined to be guilty of “sexual perversion.” Over the next two decades, thousands of gays and lesbians would loose their jobs solely because of their sexual orientation.
This was the culmination of an anti-gay witch hunt which began three years earlier. In February of 1950, Undersecretary of State John Peurifoy, testifying before the US Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department, revealed that 91 employees “in the shady category” had resigned since 1947. Republican Senators took that admission to allege that President Harry Truman’s administration’s employment of “sexual deviants with police records” was recklessly endangering the country’s national security.
It just so happened that Joseph McCarthy was a member of that committee. He had just given give his famous Wheeling Speech a few weeks earlier, claiming to have “a list in my hand” of 205 communist employees at the State Department. The Homosexual Scare now joined the nascent Red Scare as twin threats to American liberties. By April, McCarthy pressured the Civil Service to begin rooting out gays and lesbians from federal offices. By June, he persuaded the Senate to authorize a full-range investigation of homosexuals “and other moral perverts” in the civil service. The Senate Appropriations Committee responded with a rushed report a few months later, saying “one homosexual can pollute an entire government office,” and “to pussyfoot or take half measures will allow some known perverts to remain in government.”
By the end of 1950, anti-homosexual hysteria was in full swing. The Republican Party’s national chairman sent a warning to 7,000 party members that, “Perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists are the secret perverts who have infiltrated our government in recent years.” On Christmas Day of that year, Time magazine opined that all homosexuals should be fired from the federal government. The hysteria raged for the next three years as McCarthy presided over countless hearings on the imagined threat of homosexuals and communists in the government. Ironically, it would be McCarthy’s chief council, Roy Cohn, who would draw fire during the Army investigations of 1954 over rumors of his own homosexuality. (Cohn would later die of AIDS in 1986.) This played a small but key role in McCarthy’s eventual downfall.
Clamor over the twin menaces raged for the next three years, culminating in Eisenhower’s 1953 Executive Order which declared all homosexuals to be “security risks,” regardless of whether they were actually disloyal or not. It didn’t matter how low or innocuous their position was; their mere presence in a government office was deemed a threat. Following Eisenhower’s executive order, more than 640 federal employees would lose their job because of allegations of homosexuality over the next year and a half. Unknown numbers of others resigned quietly. State and local governments and government contractors followed suit, tossing countless more innocent Americans out of their jobs.
Unintended consequences are funny things though. In 1957, a young astronomer by the name of Dr. Franklin Kameny was fired from the Army Map service because of his homosexuality. After all of his court appeals were denied, he founded the Washington, D.C. Mattachine Society. He and Daughters of Billitis founder Barbara Gittings organized the first gay rights demonstrations in front of the White House, State Department and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in 1965 to demand an end to the federal employment ban. This demand remained a key component of the whole gay rights movement from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Much of today’s modern gay rights movement has its roots buried deep in the anti-gay and anti-red hysteria of the 1950’s and Executive order 10450.
The Civil Service ban on gays and lesbians would continue for the next two decades. In 1973, a federal judge ruled that a person’s sexual orientation alone could not be the sole reason for termination from federal employment. But even with that ruling, it wasn’t until July 3, 1975 when the Civil Service Commission finally announced that they would consider applications by gays and lesbians on a case by case basis.
November 26th, 2007
Tom Brokaw’s new book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties is supposed to be a sweeping review of all of the highlights of that pivital decade for social change. Brokaw left virtually nothing untouched: civil rights, the war, feminism, the sexual revolution — all of it is right there in his exhastive review. Except for one thing: There are no gays in the Sixties.
No Stonewall, no protests in front of the White House or Independence Hall, no Civil Service expulsions, none of that is a part of Tom Brokaw’s “Sixties.” And that has 1960’s gay rights activist and icon Frank Kameny livid. Kameny, whose memorabilia was recently featured in a display at the Smithsonian Institution fired off a stirring rebuttal to Brokaw’s silence on a very important part of America in the 1960’s. Reminding Brokaw that “Gay is good” (Frank coined that phrase in 1968.) Kameny reminds Brokaw of the great sweep of history that Brokaw overlooked and demands an apology.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.