Monday, April 30, 2012

Lavender Scare


LGBT Work place study:

A couple of days ago I read an article about the Lavender Scare. If you never heard of it, that is no surprise, it is just one more event erased from history. On April 27, 1953, President Eisenhower, signed executive order 10450, which banned gays and lesbians from working for any agency of the federal government or for any company that had a government contract with the US. He also urged allies of the US, to do the same thing. The reasoning for this action was that gays and lesbians were more susceptible to black mail and would give US secrets to other nations.

One of the most important men in the Second World War was a man named Alan Turing. He is now known as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. During the war he was a key figure in breaking the Enigma Machine, the code used, for secret communication, by Nazi Germany. So how was this man repaid for his service after the war? He was criminal prosecuted in 1952 for being gay and was chemically castrated, with female hormones, to avoid going to prison. He died in 1954 from, cyanide poisoning; an investigation determined it was a suicide.  
A key figure of the early Gay Rights Movement, Dr. Frank Kameny, was fired from his job, with the Army Map Service, in 1957. This led him to co-found the Mattachine Society. In 1961 he protested his termination and the case made it to the Supreme Court, becoming the first case of sexual orientation as a civil rights issue. He lost that case but continued to fight to get homosexuality out of the DSM and to remove sodomy as a crime, in the US.
Unfortunately thousands of people lost their jobs because of their or perceived sexual orientation until the Executive Order was removed in 1995. The effects of that executive order way back in 1953 solidified a homophobic and transphobic atmosphere in the work place, that we are still trying to overturn. A recent study by UCLA's Williams Institute found that 27 percent of LGBT people said that they had been harassed at work or lost a job over the course of the past five years because of their sexual orientation. In 29 states LGBT Americans still have no legal protection against employment discrimination. While an LGBT non-discrimination is blocked by Republicans, Obama has the ability to sign an executive order that could protect LGBT people now!  


  1. I have no idea why it changes fonts half way through the post.

  2. When I first heard about Alan Turing being gay I was surprised I didnt know. I then found out he was a pretty funny guy and had a very high pitched for someone with a big body build. apparently Britain knew of his sexual orientation during WWII and did nothing. After the war ended they saw him as an inconvenience and did exactly what you said :/