Gay History

Gay History – April 27, 1953: President Dwight Eisenhower Signs Executive Order Banning Homosexuals From Working for the Federal Government

On this day April 27, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, banning anyone  identified as threats to national security including those with criminal records, alcoholics, and “sex perverts”–to be excluded or terminated from federal employment.. The Order lists homosexuals as security risks, along with alcoholics and neurotics.

This was one of Eisenhower’s first official duties after being elected.

This Executive Order was tied to the McCarthy era Red Scare, the search for Communists who had supposedly infiltrated American society. The purging of homosexuals and lesbians from the federal government became known as the Lavender Scare, thousands and thousands of people were fired from their jobs simply because of their sexual orientation

The rational was that “perverts” — the word The New York Times freely used as a synonym for homosexuals — were a threat to the security of the country because their immoral lifestyle left them susceptible to blackmail by foreign agents, who would presumably induce them to reveal sensitive government information in exchange for avoiding exposure.

The anti-gay frenzy ignited by the government did far more than just deprive these men and women of jobs; it drove many to suicide and cemented homophobic stereotypes that persisted for decades in the American consciousness

Ironically on the same date April 27, nineteen years later in 1972 testifying before Congress, FBI Director and notorious closet case J. Edgar Hoover assured the House Appropriations Committee that there are no gay activists in the Bureau, saying “We don’t allow any types of activists in the FBI, gay or otherwise. I ask not for average personnel but for those above average in character, education, and personal appearance.”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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1 thought on “Gay History – April 27, 1953: President Dwight Eisenhower Signs Executive Order Banning Homosexuals From Working for the Federal Government”

  1. I barely remember him, but enough to remember some of the things he signed. I didn’t remember this. I can’t believe of all the things, this is one I didn’t remember. However I was very young, and had some other very important things I was fighting. Trust me, when I say important things… I am glad I got away from that type of teaching and situation… I just think there are nor were any good republicans anywhere, those great family values individuals…. I know so many people’s lives they ruined….. I am glad I am here to fight back still…… and had the chance to fight against them long ago.
    H.

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