McCarthyism (USA)

From LGBTQIA+ Archives

The era of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the United States, representing the State of Wisconsin was notable for his persecution of gay communities and the firing of LGBTQIA+ individuals in federal agencies in the USA.

Beginning sometime in 1947, after the second world war was well concluded, there became a widespread belief that "homosexuals" would be security risks because it was believed they were sympathetic to communism and that there existed the potential to blackmail them over their "hidden lifestyles". Additionally, as with cisgender/heterosexual relationships, "honeypot" operations utilized by spies could find individuals in compromising positions that would be used as blackmail as pressure to become informants. In July of 1947, President Truman would setup a Personnel Security Board to rule on dismissing employees accused of being "security risks" in the State Department. Unironically, in pursuing gay employees in federal agencies figures like J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, would utilize tactics that could be described as blackmail. For years, agencies would create morality clauses and investigations to pursue any gay employees, or employees suspected of being gay or otherwise queer. At the time these classifications would be titled "sex deviates" and "homosexuals".

Under President Eisenhower, these investigations were amplified and applauded as a successful national security operation for the Republican Party.

Leading Figures

Gallery

Senator McCarthy Pursues "Homosexuals" in State Department (1950)

  • The Nome Nugget, a newspaper in the State of Alaska, publishes an article reporting "American foreign policy has been influenced by pro-communists, homosexuals, and a mastermind spying for Russia" (March 29, 1950).
  • The Minneapolis Spokesman reports on the allegations from Senator Joe McCarthy that the State Department is "over-run with homo-sexuals" (April 14, 1950).
  • The Evening Star, a Washington D.C. newspaper, reports on the Senate subcommittee beginning an investigation on "employment of homosexuals in Government" (April 28, 1950).
  • The Evening Star reports that Senator Hill proposed a full investigation into federal agencies hiring gay residents (May 20, 1950).
  • The Evening Star, a newspaper reports on State Department reaction to allegations made by Senator McCarthy (May 21, 1950).
  • A report from the Evening Star reports a subcommittee investigation into "employment of homosexuals by the Federal Government" being approved and sent to the Senate Rules Committee, expecting "quick Senate approval". (May 25, 1950)
  • The Nome Nugget reports on a Senate vote to investigate "homosexuals and moral perverts among government employees" (June 12, 1950).
  • The Evening Star reports on Senate investigation and proposal for criminalizing gay residents (December 15, 1950).
  • The Evening Star reports on a Congressional subcommittee investigation and proposal. The investigation found 91 employees fired by the State Department for "homosexuality" and the proposal attempts to "close loopholes" in order to criminalize gay residents (December 16, 1950).

Hoey Offers New Bill On U.S. Undesirables (1951)

  • The Evening Star publishes an article where Senator Clyde Roark Hoey, a Democrat representing the State of North Carolina, "re-introduced his bill to strengthen controls over sex perverts and to keep them off Government payrolls" (January 12, 1951).
  • The Evening Star reports that Representative Miller of Nebraska calls for "a campaign against bottle clubs and homosexuals" (April 4, 1951; April 5, 1951).
  • The Evening Star writes about a total of 148 gay employees fired from the State Department (April 26, 1951).
  • The Arizona Sun reports on a spy hired by Senator McCarthy who was allegedly "homosexual". This comes after a year of McCarthy pursuing federal agencies in the USA for hiring gay employees (November 9, 1951).

House Investigates Immorality; Federal Agencies Continue Firing (1952)

  • Madison County Democrat, a newspaper in the State of Ohio, reports on a total of 119 "homosexual" employees being removed from the State Department, and another 53 found in the Commerce Department (March 28, 1952).
  • The Key West Citizen, a newspaper in the State of Florida, publishes a story which the Senate claims that the Communist Party held orgy parties to secure political information or state secrets (May 28, 1952).
  • The Evening Star reports Senator Dirksen's use of "lavender lads" to refer to queer men (August 18, 1952).
  • The Evening Star letter to the editors mentions Senator Dirksen's use of "lavender lads" (August 18, 1952).
  • The Evening Star reports on 24 enlisted men under investigation for "alleged homosexuality" (August 31, 1952).
  • A Daily Record article, a newspaper in the State of North Carolina, reports on a House investigation where a publisher saw no wrong in teenagers reading books "dealing with homosexuality" (December 2, 1952).

Eisenhower's New Security Order to "Weed Out Security Risks" (1953)

  • The Evening Star publishes report on continued McCarthy investigation into federal agencies hiring alleged "homosexuals"; claims State Department "waged since 1947 'an aggressive program to detect and rid itself of such employees'" (February 7, 1953).
  • The Evening Star reports on McCarthy's investigations "the next phase of his inquiry would concern the handling of cases of homosexuals" (February 16, 1953).
  • The Daily Record reports on 16 "homosexuals" being fired by the State Department (March 13, 1953).
  • The Evening Star reports on 19 employees "separated from payroll" over allegations of being "homosexual" (April 21, 1953).
  • The Evening Star reports that morale at the State Department has improved. The commenter writes, "These are all bad security risks these days. Homosexuals are exposed to blackmail" (April 22, 1953).
  • The Key West Citizen reports on a new security order from Eisenhower to "weed out security risks" (April 29, 1953).
  • The Nome Nugget reports on Senator Mundt of South Dakota saying "the administration has removed or obtained the resignation of 49 others 'for reasons of... security or homosexuality' since the GOP took over Jan. 20" (May 1, 1953).
  • The Evening Star reports that 531 "risks" were ousted by the State Department including "investigations of homosexuality" of which 74 were classified (July 2, 1953).
  • The Key West Citizen reports that 107 employees were dismissed in 1953, 74 over allegations of "homosexuality". On Page 2 it describes year over year firings for "homosexuality": 54 in 1950, 119 in 1951, 134 in 1952 (July 2, 1953).
  • The Daily Record writes on an anti-semetic immigration law with a witness who "started reeling off the names of staff member he regarded as sex deviates" (July 2, 1953).
  • The Evening Star reports "74 persons have been fired this year as homosexuals" (July 5, 1953).
  • The Southern Jewish Weekly, a newspaper in the State of Florida, reports on the McCarran-Walter Act whose supporters stated they wanted to keep out "undesirable Jewish immigrants", including "homosexuals" (July 10, 1953).
  • The Evening Star reports "on July 18, 1947, Truman set up a Personnel Security Board to rule on dismissal of employes accused as security risks" (August 9, 1953).
  • The Nome Nugget writes on 26,236 investigations from the FBI. Eisenhower's program is "broader... provides for getting rid of persons classed as... homosexuals" (October 26, 1953).
  • The Evening Star publishes an article describing "Under the Eisenhower program, as outlined in Executive Order 10450, no breakdown is made public of loyalty cases within the security risk classifications, which includes drunks, dope addicts, sex deviates, criminals, Communists, Fascists, anarchists, persons who falsify work application forms and a considerable number of other categories" (December 8, 1953).
  • The Key West Citizen reports on state department dismissals under Eisenhower, including "homosexuals" (December 16, 1953).

Democrats Ask Eisenhower To Demonstrate 2200 Fired Employees are "Subversive" (1954)

  • The Evening Star reports that the "Eisenhower administration sees no good cause to be served by giving out the exact number of homosexuals" (January 25, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports the President Eisenhower is looking into releasing a breakdown of security risk terminations (February 3, 1954).
  • The Evening Star remarks "since 1947... more than 500 homosexuals had been dropped" (February 8, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports of 9 fired employees from the Justice Department, 8 of them "were in such categories as... homosexuals" (February 8, 1954).
  • The Key West Citizen reports that Eisenhower states 2200 employees were "separated" for being Communist, immoral, or otherwise "subversive", Congressional Democrats demand Eisenhower demonstrate those fired employees were subversive (February 11, 1954).
  • The Key West Citizen reports "most of the 2200 were homosexuals, drunkards, incompetents, or persons who talked to much" (February 18, 1954).
  • The Evening Star shares in interview which remarks "Since 1947... there have been more than 500 homosexuals terminated in the department" (February 23, 1954).
  • The Evening Star states "one thing the release of the tabulation did was knock in the head such statements as that of Senator McCarthy that 90 per cent of all separations were for subversive or homosexual reasons" (March 7, 1954).
  • The Evening Star publishes an article which says the definition of a security risks "not only includes Communists and fellow travelers, but also... the homosexual" (May 30, 1954).
  • The Evening Star shares the majority report and minority statement (June 2, 1954).
  • The Key West Citizen reports on hearings led by Senator Joseph McCarthy which included allegations that federal agencies sought "to trade information... about homosexuals" (June 18, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports that the Air Force "dispensed with its employ loyalty-security firing program". A top air force official states "even though the charge has nothing to do with communism, they are labeled as disloyal... and getting another job is virtually impossible", but the article continues "if a man or woman... is a homosexual we waste no time in getting rid of them." (September 8, 1954).
  • The Evening Star publishes an article where Senator Dirksen, representing the State of Illinois, tells a group of 1100 Republican women "it has been no picnic for the Republicans to seek out... the security risks and homosexuals" (September 23, 1954).
  • The Evening Star quotes Senator Dirkson, representing Illinois, "It has been a dreary business, indicting Government officials, appointed by Democrats,... cleaning the Reds,... the subversives and homosexuals out of the Government" (October 23, 1954).

Air Force Drops 81 as 'Risks' (1955)

  • The Evening Star reports "242 officers were discharged in 1954 because they showed themselves 'unworthy'... Forty-seven of these were classed as homosexuals" (April 25, 1955).
  • The Evening Star publishes an article describing five women who "claimed they were discharged as undesirable without a hearing or court-martial proceeding on accusations of homosexual tendencies, which they deny" (September 12, 1955).
  • The Evening Star publishes an article by David Lawrence defending government firings of gay employees as a "security risk" (October 4, 1955).


State Department Ousted 2 as Reds (1956)

  • The Evening Star reports 2 ousted as communists and "Fifty-seven others left after being accused of homosexuality" (March 24, 1956).


"Sex Anarchy" (1957)

  • The Evening Star says a "noted Harvard expert" refers to a sex revolution "as socially menacing as communism" and a "vast legion of profligates, both heterosexual and homosexual" (January 4, 1957).
  • The Evening Star publishes a series on federal employee security changes which include "homosexuals" as "unsuitable", rather than "disloyal" (June 23, 1957).


Time to Refute Homosexuality Charge Extended (1959)

  • The Evening Star publishes an article column by Silvia Porter titled "Your Money's Worth", this date's column covers "The 'Brain-Pickers'" which discusses industries implementing personality tests in the hiring process, some of which "measure everything from our emotional stability to latent homosexuality" (February 12, 1959).
  • The Evening Star reports of an employee from the Civil Aeronautics Board, now Federal Aviation Agency, who wanted reinstatement to their position after being fired for accusations of being a "homosexual". Federal Judge Alexander Holtzoff ruled 5 days was not reasonable time to disprove that charge (September 19, 1959).


Two Defections Show Weakness in Security System (1960)

  • The Evening Star reports on the United States Court of Claims ruling that the Air Force should not have used a court martial in a case of dishonorable discharge for "homosexual charges" (January 20, 1960).
  • The Nome Nugget reports on two defections to the Soviet Union, "one of the pair was a homosexual" (September 7, 1960).
  • The Evening Star publishes a column by David Lawrence where he comments on two defections to the Soviet Union, including on allegedly gay employee, "There was a record... the young men had 'deep-seated homosexual tendencies'... This should have been a danger signal" (September 9, 1960).
  • The Evening Star reports on two defections, allegedly one declared a "homosexual", beginning an investigation by the Pentagon (September 13, 1960).
  • The People's Voice reports on the soviet defections of two men and the interest of the House Un-American Activities Committee (September 16, 1960).


A Businessman Looks at Communism (1961)

  • The Farmville Heralds publishes an article by Fred C Koch, one of the "Koch Brothers", which describes communism and alludes to gay smears as being a tactic. "Let me remind you that nearly every man in Congress who has lifted his sword against the Communist conspiracy has been destroyed. The Communist smear is a standard weapon- to accuse the opponent of insanity, being a Fascist, of being an alcoholic, a homosexual, an anti-Semitic or what have you" (March 10, 1961).


Related Pages

Related Books

  • Hoover's War on Gays - Exposing the FBI's "Sex Deviates" Program, Douglas M. Charles (2015)
  • The Lavender Scare - The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government, David K. Johnson (1992)